Canon’s profit from its mainstay camera business surged during the first three months of 2014, but declining sales volumes created uncertainty over future demand. Its overall net profit grew 16% year-on-year to 47.6 billion Yen (US $476 million) for the January-March quarter. Total sales rose by 6.3%to 868.3 billion Yen and operating profit surged by 50.9% to 82.6 billion Yen. Sales in the Imaging Division fell by 1.8% to 292.8 billion Yen but operating profit rose by 48% to 42 billion Yen because of the sales of D-SLR cameras and high-end compact models. Production cost cuts through personnel reductions and other means also contributed. In terms of volume, though, camera sales shrank by 22% to 3.16 million units. “Cameras appear to be hitting the bottom, but this start is weaker than our expectations,” said Executive Vice President Toshizo Tanaka at a news conference.
Compact cameras accounted for 1.86 million units, down by 30%. SLR and mirrorless models sales came to 1.3 milliopn, down by 7% year-onyear. The latter got a demand boost in Japan before the consumption tax hike starting on April 1, but their worldwide sales volume shrank due to sluggish demand abroad.