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Fast food chain operator Nakau Co. said Wednesday it will close up to 28 outlets due to a halt in sales of “gyudon” beef-and-rice dishes triggered by the mad cow disease scare.

The closure of up to 10 percent of Nakau’s outlets will be implemented by March, the company said, adding that it will pursue this restructuring measure in order to improve its earnings structure.

In February, Nakau was forced to withdraw gyudon from its menu when relatively inexpensive imports of U.S. beef were halted after the first case of bovine spongiform encephalopathy was uncovered in the United States in December.

In a related development, the company revised downward its earnings forecast for fiscal 2004 to a net loss of 500 million yen. It had earlier projected a net profit of 37 million yen.

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