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Japan’s World Co to shut 358 stores by March

Japanese apparel firm World Co is shuttering 358 outlets nationwide by March next year.

The move is in response to the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak, and will involve jettisoning five clothing brands owned by the parents firm – including unprofitable brands Aquagirl and Ozoc – and potentially more.

The closure plan will involve implementing a voluntary early-retirement programme for staff and around 200 layoffs.

World Co has operated for more than 60 years within Japan and went into private ownership 16 years ago.

The company is not the only Japanese apparel retailer to announce plans to scale back operations this year. Last month, rival Cecil McBee said it would shut down all of its physical outlets in the country. It said at the time it could not survive another outbreak with a period of store shutdowns.

The firm’s 43 stores are closing consecutively throughout Japan, with final closures to be made by February next year.

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