Wal-Mart Makes Progress in Japanese Market
Aug 22, 2006
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Wal-Mart's Japanese subsidiary, Seiyu, said its first-half losses grew fivefold, but the unit's chief executive reaffirmed his commitment to Japan even as the U.S. retailer abandons the German and South Korean markets.

Seiyu reported a 54 billion yen (U.S. $465 million) loss for the first 6 months of the year. The 400-store chain, which doesn't break down quarterly numbers, had racked up a 10.6-billion yen loss the same period the previous year. First half sales fell 2.9 percent to 468 billion yen ($4 billion).

But Seiyu Chief Executive Ed Kolodzieski, who took office in December, said there were clear signs of progress in the first half of the year, with comparative store sales rising 1.4 percent, the first year-on-year gain in 14 years. Comparative store numbers measure sales after deleting effects from store openings and closures.

Although sales and profit results for the first half didn't meet company expectations, Seiyu has reduced costs and has been busy opening new stores while closing underperforming stores.

Seiyu kept unchanged its full year forecast for a group net loss of 54.5 billion yen ($471 million) on 966 billion yen sales ($8.3 billion), but said it expects to swing into black ink next year (AP).

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