Sony Corp said it was likely to fall slightly short of its ambitious 25 million unit LCD TV sales target for the year to March 2011, with sales in developed markets seen flat from last year in the key year-end shopping season.

Sony Executive Deputy President Hiroshi Yoshioka told a group of reporters on Monday that it would be difficult to pull the TV unit into the black for the financial year and that he was not expecting substantial profits on televisions for the following year, either.

After six consecutive years of losses in the TV business, Sony has been banking on innovations such as 3D television and Internet TV to boost sales and help it back into the black.

Yoshioka, who is in charge of Sony's TV, digital camera and electronic device operations, said 3D TV sales were likely to be close to 2.5 million units for the financial year.

Holiday season sales were in line with overall expectations, Yoshioka said, with substantial growth in emerging markets while developed economies were flat on the previous year.

Yoshioka added that talks were continuing with Sharp Corp on whether Sony would raise its stake in a state-of-the art TV panel plant in western Japan. Media reports have said that Sony is set to drop the plan as it seeks lower-cost panel suppliers in other parts of Asia.

(Additional reporting by Isabel Reynolds; Editing by Edmund Klamann)