Department store chain Daimaru Inc. said Tuesday it will close and liquidate its two stores in Australia.

Its Melbourne store, set up in September 1991, will be shut by the end of July, while its Gold Coast store, set up in September 1998, will be closed by the end of January.

Osaka-based Daimaru said it decided to close the stores due to a continued fall in sales amid intensifying competition and stagnating consumer spending following the introduction of a consumption tax.

With the closures, the company will post extraordinary losses of some 3 billion yen for the fiscal year through February. But this will not affect its earlier loss projection, it said.

In April, the company forecast group net losses of 17.5 billion yen for the first half of the year and 23 billion yen for the full year.