Isetan Mitsukoshi replacing CEO

Japanese department store chain Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings has appointed a new CEO as retailers battle to recover from a sharp fall in shopping spend by tourists.

In a filing with the Tokyo Stock Exchange, Isetan Mitsukoshi says senior managing executive officer Toshihiko Sugie will become CEO on April 1, replacing Hiroshi Ohnishi, who had been in the role since 2012.

Isetan Mitsukoshi says it made the change “to further improve corporate value by installing fresh management”.

Japanese department store sales fell to less than ¥6 trillion (US$52.70 billion) last year from a 1991 peak of ¥9.7 trillion, with retailers hit by weak economic growth, changing consumer tastes and e-commerce competition.

There was a brief boom when tourists, especially Chinese, were buying expensive items such as jewellery and watches. This has come to an end despite tourism numbers growing by 21.8 per cent to a record 25 million last year, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization. More than 70 per cent of tourists came from China, Hong Kong, South Korea and Taiwan.

Isetan Mitsukoshi says its duty-free sales fell 19 per cent to ¥36.7 billion over the nine months through December.

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