The newly appointed president of Daiei Inc. said Friday the firm has no intention of reducing itself to a food store chain in its efforts to turn itself around under the Industrial Revitalization Corp. of Japan.
“Despite what some people say, we have no plan to retreat into food supermarkets,” Toshio Hasumi told a news conference announcing his official appointment.
Hasumi, 58, succeeds Kunio Takagi, who stepped down the same day to take responsibility for asking the state bailout agency for help in its rehabilitation.
Takagi has moved to the post of chairman, a symbolic post that does not have much influence over the board.
Daiei is expected to begin drawing up a revival plan with the IRCJ and its main creditor banks soon. The plan is likely to include drastic restructuring measures, such as large job cuts and store closings.
Some have speculated that the retailer will sell off all of its general merchandise stores, which currently make up its core business, and focus strictly on food.
Most so-called supermarkets in Japan are general merchandise stores, which sell grocery, apparel and household items.
Yet these all-in-one stores have been struggling recently amid a lack of appeal among customers, and major retailers such as Aeon Co. and Ito-Yokado Co. are not immune to the trend.
While Hasumi denied reports that Daiei will give up its general merchandise operations, he did admit that it will be difficult to keep them without help from outside tenants.
He said the chain will actively seek tenants for its stores.
Hasumi also reiterated the company’s wish to keep its Fukuoka Daiei Hawks pro baseball team, saying he has no plans to meet with Softbank Corp. Chief Executive Masayoshi Son, who had expressed a wish to buy the team.
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