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Mitsukoshi eyes first quarterly loss in eight years

Japanese department-store chain Isetan Mitsukoshi is likely to report its first loss over a single financial quarter in eight years, according to Asia Nikkei.

Losses of ¥5–10 billion (US$46.6–93.2 million) are expected to reflect the impact of the coronavirus pandemic that has seen most Japanese consumers remaining at home during mall operating hours.

The loss is a steep decline from the firm’s profits of ¥3.7 billion ($34.5 million) recorded during the same period last year.

Isetan’s department stores were hit with a 7-per-cent drop in sales during January that ballooned to 16 per cent in February, and 40 per cent in March as Japan’s Covid-19 lockdown intensified.

Prospects for the retailer remain unclear, as it is yet to be seen if and how rapidly customer behaviour will return to normal following the pandemic. In preparation for an uncertain period, the firm has been stocking up on cash and is currently negotiating with banks for further financing.

Isetan rival Seiyu has reported strong retail activity following the Japanese administration’s stay-at-home request as consumers sought to stock up on food and other daily necessities. The firm has offered a special bonus of up to ¥15,000 ($140) to store workers as it now faces a staffing shortage, and is seeking 3000 new hires.

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