Ailing supermarket chain Ito-Yokado will withdraw from the Hokkaido, Tohoku and Shinetsu regions of northern and central Japan.
The Seven & I Holdings unit will close five of its 17 stores in the regions and hand over 11 to other supermarket operators. Negotiations are underway for the remaining one. Employees at the stores are expected to be retained.
As part of its structural reform, Ito-Yokado will focus on urban areas including the Tokyo metropolitan area. In March 2023, the company announced that it would reduce the number of its stores to 93 by closing 33 stores by February 2026.
The supermarket chain, which is the original business of the Seven & I group, has been in the red for three straight years through February 2023 amid pressure from the growth of online shopping. It aims to achieve a turnaround by February 2026.