Struggling supermarket chain Daiei Inc. started Thursday a crucial yearend sale at its 271 stores across the country.

Daiei, which will receive financial support from its three major creditor banks and the government-backed Development Bank of Japan, aims to boost sales during the year’s biggest sales event.

At its Tsudanuma outlet in Narashino, Chiba Prefecture, Daiei had Sadaharu Oh, manager of the Daiei Hawks, show up for an event to pray for victory for the team and the department store.

Daiei said it aims to increase its December sales on a same-store basis by 2 percent from a year earlier, while it seeks to raise sales by 2 percent in the September-February second half of the 2002 business year.

In October, Daiei’s three major creditor banks and the DBJ announced a plan to establish a 60 billion yen fund to support the rehabilitation efforts of the financially troubled company.

The DBJ will invest 10 billion yen in the fund and the three creditor banks — UFJ Bank, Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corp. and Mizuho Corporate Bank — will contribute the remaining 50 billion yen, they said.

The sales event ends Dec. 25.

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