Mizuno Corp. reported sales fell 8.2% in its year ended March 31 to �148.7 billion ($1.63bn) as revenues decreased in Japan, the Americas and Asia in local currencies. Thanks to cost cutting efforts, the Japanese sporting goods giant returned to profitability for the year.

Mizuno earned �1.82 billion ($20mm) versus a loss of �1.22 billion a year ago. Operating profits reached �2.8 billion ($31mm), slightly below �2.9 billion a year earlier.

Gross margin increased 0.2 percentage points because of inventory reduction and enhanced purchase control.

In North America, sales slid 18% to �18.4 billion ($202.9 million). In currency neutral terms, sales in North America were down 8.6%. Its footwear and apparel business in the region was stable. Baseball and Golf decreased by 6% and 23%, respectively.

Japan's sales slid 4.4% to �111.8 billion (1.2 billion). Golf sales decreased by 9% vs FY2008. Baseball and athletic sales showed a slight decline.

In Europe, revenues were down 8.6% to �10.1 billion ($111mm) and were off 5.7% on a currency-neutral basis. Footwear and apparel business increased by 5% because of strong sales of running shoes. Golf increased by 4%.

In Asia Oceania (excluding Japan, revenues were down 27.2% to �8.4 billion ($91.7mm). Sales were down 18.9% in currency neutral terms. Taiwan business records good sales in all category. Footwear & apparel business decrease by around 30% in China.