Nintendo Gains as New Wii U Sales Beat Predecessor

Nintendo Co. rose the most in almost four months in Osaka trading after its new Wii U home video-game console generated more revenue in the U.S. than its predecessor.

The stock climbed 5.6 percent to close at 9,070 yen, posting its biggest gain since Sept. 18.

Sales of the new console in the U.S. in the first 41 days after its Nov. 18 introduction were more than $300 million, while those of the original Wii were $270 million at the same point after release, the company said in an e-mailed statement. Nintendo has sold almost 890,000 units of the Wii U in the U.S., according to market researcher NPD Group Inc.

“The U.S. sales report prompted investors to jump on Nintendo,” said Makoto Sengoku, a Tokyo-based market analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities Co. Still, “the gain may be short-lived unless it can sustain sales momentum.”

President Satoru Iwata is counting on the Wii U to revive earnings after Kyoto, Japan-based Nintendo posted its first annual loss in three decades last year. The video-game industry in the U.S. has been shrinking as consumers buy fewer packaged titles and shift to digital downloads and games played on mobile devices.

The Wii U machine features a 6.2-inch touch-screen controller that lets users wirelessly connect to the console and shift the display between a TV and the device.

The $350 deluxe version of the console, which has more storage, and the “New Super Mario Bros. U” software attracted demand from customers, Scott Moffitt, Nintendo of America’s executive vice president of sales and marketing, said. The basic version sells in the U.S. for $300.

Japan, Americas

The creator of Mario and Zelda characters sold 638,339 Wii Us in Japan as of Dec. 30, Enterbrain, a Tokyo-based market researcher, said Jan. 7. Japan and the Americas made up 70 percent of sales in the six months ended Sept. 30, according to Nintendo. The Wii U debuted in Japan on Dec. 8.

U.S. retail sales of video-game software, hardware and accessories declined 22 percent from a year earlier to $3.21 billion in December, according to NPD. Software sales fell 26 percent to $1.54 billion, leading the overall decline, the Port Washington, New York-based company said. Console sales fell 20 percent to $1.07 billion, and retail sales for the year fell 22 percent to $13.3 billion, NPD said.

Microsoft Corp. (MSFT) held the lead in console unit sales in December for the 24th consecutive month. The Redmond, Washington-based company said in a separate statement that U.S. retailers sold 1.4 million of its Xbox consoles last month.

To contact the reporters on this story: Naoko Fujimura in Tokyo at nfujimura@bloomberg.net; Ben Livesey in London at blivesey@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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