said Friday it will probably post a net loss of 3.7 billion yen in the year ending Dec. 31, having earlier pledged to return to profitability following last year’s first-ever loss in nearly three decades.

In August, the firm forecast a net profit of 2.1 billion yen.

Also on Friday, the company announced senior management appointments at its restaurant-operating subsidiary McDonald’s Co. Japan, underscoring the growing influence of the U.S. parent on the struggling chain.

Moreover, the company stressed in a revitalization plan it hopes to return to its core hamburger business and withdraw from the Pret A Manger sandwich business it started two years ago.

“We have to regain the market leadership. We are confident that we will revitalize and rejuvenate (the McDonald’s) brand,” Pat Donahue, chairman and chief executive of McDonald’s Holding Japan, told a news conference.

The company blamed the loss on a one-time charge stemming from an early retirement program it carried out last month covering 146 employees, all of those age 40 and over working at its headquarters.

Together with other restructuring expenses, the company will post an extraordinary loss of 8.15 billion yen.

The company also officially announced that Peter Beresford, former vice president of McDonald’s Canada, has been named executive vice president of McDonald’s Japan.

The 52-year-old Canadian rose up the ranks as a marketing expert and played a significant role in the Canadian chain’s launch of the Golden Arches in the former Soviet Union, according to the firm.

Todd Tucker, a former senior executive of McDonald’s Corp. who served in Singapore, was meanwhile named senior vice president and assistant to Donahue.

The management changes were a clear sign that the U.S. parent wants to put the Japanese company on a shorter leash, a move widely expected when Donahue took over the top post in May following the retirement of Den Fujita, the charismatic founder of the Japanese franchise.

Earlier this week, the U.S. parent announced that its vice chairman, Jim Skinner, will supervise management at the Japanese operation.

Donahue, sensitive to local media reports that the American parent is taking the reins away from Japanese management, stressed that they were invited at the request of the Japanese company to assist President Yasuyuki Yagi.

“The appointment of Beresford is for one purpose only; to strengthen Yagi’s leadership,” Donahue said. “Beresford is not here to replace Yagi, not now and not in the future.”

Donahue pledged to reverse the chain’s current negative trend, saying management will shift from “short-term tactics for sales gains to long-term strategies aimed at improving operations.”

However, except for the Pret A Manger pullout and restructuring plans at headquarters, the revitalization plan lacks concrete measures aimed at luring back consumers.

The sandwich chain has 13 outlets, and the company said it will seek a buyer for the operation.

Donahue did not give specific turnaround targets, saying management is still developing plans.

A symbol of successful entrepreneurship, McDonald’s Japan under Fujita posted a meteoric rise, though its growth screeched to a halt following the outbreak of mad cow disease in domestic cattle, and the nation’s prolonged deflation.

McDonald’s Japan does not use domestic beef.

Last year, it posted a net loss for the first time in three decades. Its vow to return to profitability this year was thrown into doubt when the company halved its earnings forecast in August, following the lackluster first half.

The firm’s struggle has continued in the second half of the year. Sales at stores that have been open for at least a year dropped 8.1 percent on a year-on-year basis in September.

According to a press release issued Friday, same-store sales were flat from a year earlier in October, the first month that has not seen negative monthly sales growth in two years.

But the firm’s prospects are still uncertain, as it expects monthly sales to drop again in November and December.

Analysts have been saying that without an attractive menu, the company’s efforts will likely be doomed.

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