Supermarket chain Seiyu Ltd. said Thursday its first-half net loss widened to 10.59 billion yen, following a 2.88 billion yen loss a year earlier, as drastic changes in store operations caused confusion among staff.

CEO Noriyuki Watanabe insisted the retailer would reverse this downtrend in the second half, citing growing sales of household items and apparel.

The chain, 43 percent owned by Wal-Mart Stores Inc., said revenue for the six-month period that ended in June fell 5.4 percent to 482.03 billion yen.

The struggling company has been trying to turn itself around under Wal-Mart, introducing various measures said to have been successful for the world’s largest retailer. So far, these have failed to lure back shoppers.

During the period in question, same-store sales, or turnover from stores open for more than a year, fell 4.5 percent year-on-year, dragged down by weak sales of clothing.

Explaining the weak first half, Watanabe said the change to a Wal-Mart style data system at stores had placed an extra burden on workers, who saw 1,600 of their colleagues leave in March as part of a restructuring drive.

He said the introduction of the new system had pretty much run its course, and the firm was beginning to see its benefits. He noted that stores are now better equipped to stock and display popular items in a timely manner.

The company also said it has been improving ways to fit merchandise procured through the Wal-Mart group to Japanese tastes.

For instance, the George apparel line, which was unpopular with shoppers here, has enjoyed strong sales lately, thanks to changes made in line with local preferences.

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