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Ito-Yokado to close 5 outlets, Seibu Dept. 2 stores.

TOKYO, Nov. 30 Kyodo

Major supermarket chain operator Ito-Yokado Co. said Wednesday it will close five unprofitable outlets in four prefectures in two years, while major department store chain Seibu Department Stores Ltd. plans to close two outlets by the end of 2006, Seibu sources said.

Ito-Yokado, which is under the umbrella of Seven & I Holdings Co., said it will shut down the Sengendai store in Koshigaya, Saitama Prefecture, the Kamagaya and Kimitsu stores both in Chiba Prefecture, and the Fujiyoshida outlet in Yamanashi Prefecture by the end of next February.

The supermarket chain said it will also close an outlet located in front of JR Hamamatsu Station in Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, during 2007.

Ito-Yokado announced earlier this year that it will close more than 30 of its 180 outlets by February 2009 as part of its restructuring plan.

Ito-Yokado, convenience store chain Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and restaurant chain operator Denny's Japan Co. formed Seven & I Holdings as their holding company on Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, Seibu Department Stores is considering closing its outlets in the cities of Toyama and Shizuoka because of poor sales, according to the company sources.

Seibu Department, one of the two key units of Millennium Retailing Inc. along with Sogo Co., also a department store chain, has launched talks with local stakeholders on the future of its 180-member regular and part-time staff at the Toyama outlet after the envisaged closure by the end of May 2006, the sources said.

Seibu will also open similar talks soon over the closure of the 250-staff Shizuoka store, they said.

Sales at the Toyama and Shizuoka outlets have fallen to one third of their respective peaks of around 18 billion yen and 30 billion yen in the early 1990s.

In June 2003, Seibu and Sogo integrated their operations under the Millennium Retailing holding company.
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Comment:Ito-Yokado to close 5 outlets, Seibu Dept. 2 stores.
Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Geographic Code:9JAPA
Date:Dec 5, 2005
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