The country’s largest retailer Seven & I reported a 28 per cent slump in profits to ¥23.7bn (£146.9m) in the three months to the end of May as the country feels the full force of the recession.

Sales at the retailer, which operates the 7-Eleven convenience store chain, Ito-Yokado supermarkets fascia and Seibu department stores, fell 11 per cent to ¥1.24 trillion (£7.69bn).

Seven & I is focusing on expanding its own-brand ranges to drive margins and offer lower prices to customers.