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Takashimaya plunges into the red as Covid-19 eats into sales

Takashimaya, the Japanese department store operator, has reported a loss of US$190 million in the May quarter as it faced extraordinary payments related to the Covid-19 pandemic and falling sales.

The company was forced to effectively close 22 stores in Japan from April 8 after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency. Only the food departments were allowed to continue to trade as the government ensured social-distancing measures.

Sales in May plunged by more than 60 per cent as a result, but last month’s decline was a much less dramatic 16 per cent as cities began to reopen and consumers ventured out shopping again. For the full quarter, sales were down by 48 per cent to $1.08 billion.

As well as reduced domestic spending, Takashimaya sales were impacted by an absence of tourists as borders were closed as a Covid-19 prevention strategy.

For the May quarter, Takashimaya recorded a one-off loss of $79.8 million relating to pandemic costs, including paid leave for staff unable to work due to the shutdown.

The company did not release any figures on the performance of its overseas stores in Vietnam, Singapore, Thailand and Mainland China and it declined to proffer earnings guidance for the full year.

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