Department store operator Mitsukoshi Ltd. said Tuesday it will shut down five unprofitable smaller outlets due to intensifying competition.

Mitsukoshi will shut down its Hanamigawa and Narashinodai stores in Chiba Prefecture in late August before closing its store in Kamiooka, Yokohama, in late December.

That will be followed by the closure of the Marunouchi store in central Tokyo in January and the smaller of Mitsukoshi’s two outlets in Takamatsu, Kagawa Prefecture, in February, Mitsukoshi said.

The decision comes amid grim outlooks for these stores, with fierce competition from neighboring retailers eroding their profitability.

Mitsukoshi said it will move 43 full-time employees to other stores at nearby locations. The future of part-timers will be considered later.

The chain now operates 88 small outlets across Japan and plans to consider closing or remodeling more if they prove unprofitable within the next three years.

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