In the first quarter of the current consolidated fiscal year (November 1, 2018 to January 31, 2019), there was a recovery in consumer spending and capital expenditures as the labor market and personal income improved. However, there are numerous sources of risk regarding the global economy, such as risk involving U.S. policies due to different party control of the two U.S. houses of Congress, the effects of U.S.-China trade friction, and various risk factors involving the eurozone. Due to concerns about how these factors may influence internal demand in Japan, the economic outlook remains unclear.

 In the wedding industry, the number of weddings in Japan in 2018 was 590,000 (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, 2018 Annual Estimate of Vital Statistics), down 17,000 from 2017. Although the number of weddings and receptions is decreasing slowly as the prime wedding age population declines, the guest house wedding market is still generally healthy.


 Differentiating wedding services from those of competitors is becoming increasingly difficult. During the first quarter of the fiscal year, we took many actions in line with the IKK Group’s philosophy of “touching our customers’ hearts.” There were internal and external employee training activities to give our people the personal strengths and customer interaction skills needed to provide personalized wedding services. In addition, we used our own sales support system to analyze operating data and used many initiatives at wedding facilities to attract more customers.

 

 To capture a larger share of Japan’s wedding market, we are working on building an infrastructure capable of quickly meeting the increasingly diverse needs and expectations of customers and using an introduction system for maintaining a cycle in which we receive new customer referrals from current customers. All these actions are aimed at sales and earnings growth.

 

 First quarter net sales increased 0.4% from one year earlier to 4,156 million yen, operating profit increased 18.3% to 66 million yen, ordinary profit increased 14.5% to 71 million yen, and profit attributable to owners of parent increased 50.9% to 47 million yen.

 

 A fundamental management objective at IKK Group is for our corporation to become indispensable to local communities through the contributions we make to society with our style of corporate management based on our management philosophy, “To touch our customers' hearts!” We are also aware that strengthening the growth potential and excellence of our company while increasing corporate value and longevity are among the challenges we face as management.

 At IKK Group, we take seriously our mission and responsibility as a public institution of society and are determined to be a leading company in the wedding industry as we continue to share and test our corporate philosophy. Toward that end, we ask our shareholders and investors for their continued guidance and encouragement.

March 1, 2019