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Tokyu department-store chain quits Thailand

Japanese department-store chain Tokyu is to exit Thailand, the third Japanese retailer to withdraw from the country this year. 

Tokyu aims to close its last store at Bangkok’s MBK shopping centre next January, ending 35 years of trading in the city. The retailer closed its second, newer store at Paradise Park last year. 

The department store has been struggling in the shopping centre competition due to the launch of a series of new developments in Bangkok. However, the tourism depression resulting from Covid-19 proved a fatal blow to the company, forcing it to retreat home. 

The closure came suddenly, with the management of MBK saying just two week ago that the store would undergo a renovation after the lease agreement was extended for another nine years. 

Tokyu’s withdrawal follows the departure of Japan’s upmarket department store Isetan in September. That company pulled out of Thailand after 28 years of trading there, saying it was unable to continue to compete with other retailers. 

With Tokyu leaving Thailand, Takashimaya will become the only Japanese department-store chain left in the country. 

Another Japanese retailer, FamilyMart effectively withdrew this year after selling its stake to local partner Central Retail, effectively becoming a franchisor.

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