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Fund rescuing Yamatoyashiki store

A long-established department store in Japan, Yamatoyashiki department store in Himeji,  is having a major revamp thanks to the help of a financial reconstruction fund.

Such investment funds have been playing a major role in revitalising local economies in Japan, says a report in The Japan News.

In the Hyogo prefecture, the store has been under corporate rehabilitation with the support of Milestone Turnaround Management (MTM), a financial reconstruction fund, since spring last year.

Sales at the department store reached their peak of  ¥27.9 billion (US$4.3 million) in the business year ending February 1992.

On a main street near Himeji Castle, the store is designated a national treasure. The combined sales of its two outlets, however, dropped to ¥14 billion in the business year ending February last year, with large supermarkets drawing customers away.

Seeing the advantages of the outlet’s location close to JR Himeji Station, MTM offered to rehabilitate the store. The fund believes smaller cities will become more compact and centred on main railway stations.

The Himeji store in now having its basement food section overhauled, as well as other areas, with the aim of finishing this spring. There is also a plan to open an outdoor cafe on the first floor to attract tourists.

“I think the reconstruction of our store will benefit not only the central district of the city, but also Himeji overall,” says Yamatoyashiki president Kenichi Isumi.

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