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Seiyu Ltd.’s group net loss for its business first half through Aug. 31 narrowed to 8.43 billion yen, thanks to the absence of hefty one-time losses booked a year ago, the troubled retail giant announced Tuesday.

The supermarket chain’s struggles continued during the six-month period, however, with group operating profit plunging 80.4 percent on a year-on-year basis to 2.5 billion yen.

Its revenues meanwhile dropped 3.9 percent from the previous year to 557.95 billion yen.

Seiyu is the Japanese unit of U.S. retail giant Wal-Mart Stores Inc., the world’s largest retailer.

Seiyu Chief Executive Masao Kiuchi stressed that the chain has made headway in terms of integrating its business operations with those of Wal-Mart, adding that the firm is benefiting from the use of Wal-Mart’s resources.

On the logistic front, the chain has started using Wal-Mart’s inventory control system, through which Seiyu shares inventory information with its suppliers.

It has also started putting more private label items developed by Wal-Mart on its store shelves; these products include coffee, olive oil, and grapefruit juice.

“Not only invisible changes but visible ones are starting to appear,” Kiuchi said.

Yet sales at outlets that have been open for at least a year dropped 4.8 percent on a year-on-year basis during the first half, with monthly sales sliding 9 percent in July.

Kiuchi said that reduced use of newspaper fliers was another factor behind the drop in sales.

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