• Kyodo News

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Mitsukoshi department store’s Paris outlet will close in September due to sluggish sales amid the global economic downturn, according to Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd.

Meanwhile, the company said Thursday it plans to open its second Isetan outlet in Tianjin, China, sometime between the end of this year and spring 2011, reflecting the company’s plan to expand business in China, where solid economic growth is expected in the future.

Paris Mitsukoshi opened in 1971 as Mitsukoshi’s first overseas outlet in the postwar period, while becoming the first Japanese department store to enter the European market.

The Paris Mitsukoshi is small, with its main customers being Japanese expatriates. But the store has been incurring operating losses in recent years, company officials said.

The new Isetan outlet in Tianjin will be opened jointly with local companies near an upscale residential area with retail floor space of some 17,000 sq. meters, the company said.

The new outlet will be Isetan’s second Tianjin store — the first one opened in 1993 — and fifth outlet in China, it said.

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