Fears that Nintendo’s Wii games console had lost its spark were allayed on Wednesday as record December sales in the US cheered investors, who marked the Japanese company’s shares up 6.9 per cent.
Nintendo sold more than 3m Wii games consoles in the US in the month, helped by particularly strong sales in the week leading up to Christmas.
The figure was 40 per cent higher than that of the previous December.
Sales were helped mainly by the introduction of the Super New Mario Bros Wii game and also by a 20 per cent, or $50, cut in the price of the console – which helped to end nine months of declining numbers.
Nintendo sold about 4m copies of the new software title in the US between the middle of November and the third week of December.
Pelham Smithers, an independent analyst, said demand for the Wii in Japan had also been surprisingly good, with sales reaching 234,000 last week, against levels of just 11,000 per week in September. “The recent success of the Wii has taken the market by surprise,” he said.
“Japanese sales don’t peak at Christmas but in the first week of January, so there should still be some more growth coming through from there,” Mr Smithers said. “I assume that US and European sales will fall away rapidly because Christmas is done and dusted, but it creates a greater platform for software sales next year.”
The stock gained the most it had done in more than a year, rising to a two-and-a-half-month high of Y24,500.
The shares had suffered since Nintendo revised down its full-year profits outlook in October.
Then, the company cut its full-year net profits forecast by 23 per cent to Y230bn ($2.48bn).
The warning in October had led to fears that the games sector was not as recession-proof as it was once thought to be, and rivals Sony and Microsoft added to the pressure by slashing the prices of the PlayStation 3 and Xbox respectively.