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Sony Q1 results signal return to the black helped by Xperia smartphone sales

Sony has returned to the black in the first quarter, aided by healthy smartphone sales.

For the first quarter (ending June), Japanese firm Sony said sales totalled around £11.5 billion, which was up 13 per cent on the first quarter last year.

Sony said it sold 9.6 million smartphones - including the Xperia range - in the three month period, which was a healthy increase on the 7.4 million smartphones it sold in the same quarter a year ago.

This led to the company seeing an operating profit in its mobile and PC unit, totalling £40 million, after it made a loss last year.

Sony's total group operating profit increased to £244 million, while its net profit came in at £23 million - it made a net loss in the first quarter last year.

While the mobile and PC unit did its bit to help turn Sony's fortunes around, the games unit was a drag on the company's bottom line. Its operating losses increased to £99 million, partly as a result of increased research and development costs associated with the upcoming PS4 console, which is expected to hit shelves in December.

Sales for Sony's games unit were flat at £800 million, while sales of the PS3 and portable PSP fell, as gamers wait for the next big thing to arrive in the shops.

Earlier this week, fellow Japanese company Nintendo reported a dive in sales for its latest Wii U console, as the company reported group operating losses for the first quarter.