Restaurant chain Yoshinoya D&C Co. said Friday it expects to post a greater-than-expected group net loss of 2.54 billion yen for its current business year ending in February.

The projected loss contrasts with a net profit of 5.69 billion yen for the previous year. It had earlier forecast a loss of 1.88 billion yen for the current year, blaming continued weakness in sales.

Yoshinoya was forced to suspend sales of its mainstay “gyudon” beef-on-rice dishes in February after Japan banned beef imports from the United States amid a mad cow disease scare.

It has introduced “butadon” pork-on-rice and other new dishes, but monthly sales have remained between 20 percent and 30 percent lower than year-before levels on a same-store basis.

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