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Aoyama to reduce floor space, staff as pandemic impacts business wear

A store display of Aoyama’s Prestige range.

Japanese business clothing retailer Aoyama Trading says it will halve floor space at 400 of its stores, due to the impact Covid-19 has had on demand for business attire.

The 57-year-old company is also offering voluntary early retirement to around 400 employees.

According to a report in Nikkei Asia, the business will reduce stock at around 60 per cent of its stores due to the increased reliance on casual clothing, largely due to the increase in people working from home rather than in a traditional office environment.

Aoyama will hope to attract shared office operators and other businesses to take up the space left in the stores, according to the report.

The pandemic has led to a decrease in demand for suits, ties, and other business attire, which caused Aoyama a net loss of 29 billion yen for the year ending March.

The cost-cutting measures will leave the business with 700 stores, 400 of which will be smaller, with around 20 to 30 per cent fewer suits. Aoyama is also planning to open stores with no inventory that sells tailored suits instead.

Japan has been hit particularly hard by a recent wave of Covid-19 cases, with the country’s daily death toll topping 100 for the first time earlier this week, according to Japan Times.

Hospitals are at the point of near collapse according to medical experts, as the country declared a state of emergency and the government urged citizens to avoid nonessential outings.

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