Business / Corporate

Laox to shut half its Japan stores as travel bans keep main customers away

Jiji

Electronics retailer Laox Co. has announced plans to shut down 12 domestic outlets, or half of its stores in the nation, and withdraw from Okinawa Prefecture and Kyushu.

The steps are part of the company's efforts to improve profitability after the number of foreign tourists to Japan, its main customers, plunged due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

Laox will close three stores in Hokkaido, six in Kyushu and one each in Tokyo, the western Kinki region and Okinawa. The closure dates will be announced after details are finalized.

Regarding its reasons for the closures, Laox said in a statement Tuesday that travelers from China, the company's main customers, were unable to enter Japan amid the pandemic and that no recovery was in sight for the number of visitors from the rest of the world.

In 2009, Laox came under the wing of a major Chinese electronics retailer due to a business slump.

The Japanese company logged a net loss for the second consecutive year in the year ended in December 2019, after a temporary improvement in earnings thanks to a rise in the number of foreign tourists to Japan.

Since February this year, Laox has sought applications for two voluntary redundancy programs to accelerate restructuring efforts.

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