Sharp: Large-Screen TV Sales in N. America Likely to Top 1M

Sharp Corp said on Thursday it will likely sell more than 1 million large-screen TVs of 60-inches and above in North America in the year to March 31, and expects the burgeoning market to push sales higher next business year.

"With only four months to go it looks as though we will make the 1 million mark in the U.S. alone," Kozo Takahashi, head of the company's operations in the Americas, said at a briefing in Tokyo.

"We expect that number to grow in the next fiscal year," he added.

With a heavier reliance on Japan than its competitors, Sharp needs to bolster sales overseas, particularly in growing foreign markets in Asia, and tap demand for higher-end large panels to cope with the contraction.

Research firm DisplaySearch predicts sales of LCD TVs in Japan will decline to $3 billion in 2015 from a peak of $12 billion last year ahead of the nation's switch to digital broadcasting.

Sales in North America by 2015 will fall by a much smaller margin to $20 billion from $22 billion, while Asia outside China and Japan will double to almost $14 billion, DisplaySearch forecasts.

Compared with the previous term, sales of large TVs in the U.S. are set to triple this year, Takahashi said.

Audio visual equipment accounts for almost half of Sharp's revenue. Half of its overall sales also come from Japan. (Reporting by Tim Kelly; Editing by Chris Gallagher)