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Suffering from weak consumer spending and restructuring costs to close poorly performing shops, supermarket giant Daiei Inc. reported a net loss of 983 million yen Wednesday for the March-August period on a nonconsolidated basis.This is the first time the company has posted an after-tax loss in an interim period, company officials said. Also for the first time, the company has decided to forgo dividend payments for the period.As part of its restructuring efforts, Daiei abruptly closed a major store in Tokyo’s Shinagawa Ward, which increased extraordinary losses for the period to 22.5 billion yen. Japan’s largest supermarket chain operator closed 13 stores in the first half of the year. The company now operates 369 stores across the country.Meanwhile, operating profit improved to 5.66 billion yen, an increase of about 20 percent from the previous year.On the same day, Daiei also lowered its forecast for consolidated earnings for the 1998 business year ending next February. The Kobe-based retailer said that the company now projects net profits of 500 million yen, down from the previous projection of 1.5 billion yen. Revenue is now projected at 3.07 trillion yen, down from an earlier estimate of 3.18 trillion yen.

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