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Last Okinawa Dai-Ei department stores to close later this summer

Date Posted: 2005-06-04

A sluggish economy has forced one of Japan’s larger department store chains to shut down its last remaining stores in Okinawa.

Dai-Ei, which last year closed its Hypermart in Awase and its department store in Itoman, is now preparing to close its best known store in Naha, and another in Urasoe City. The closures will leave the company with 32 stores, mostly operating in Kanto and Kyushu regions of mainland Japan. The stores will be closed by the end of August.

Dai-Ei officials say 21 stores are being closed in this belt tightening round, which they hope will slash distribution costs. They say they’ll seek concessions from building owners in the remaining locations in an effort to reduce rental costs, which they say are a large part of their financial problems.

The closures were not totally unexpected in Okinawa. Speculation has been rampant for some months that either Kanehide or Jusco Department Stores would make bids to take over the two prime Dai-Ei locations.

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