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Kous first Dai-Ei shop to close doors

Date Posted: 2002-08-31

Kous Kadena became the first of Dai-Ei department stores to shut doors in Okinawa, as its cash registers rang for the last time Sunday. Six other Dai-Ei department stores will close Aug. 31.

Kous opened only three and half years ago in April 1999. It was a discount store that customers had to obtain a members card to enter, but at the end idea did not prove popular enough to save the store.

Other Dai-Ei stores that will close include Dai-Ei department store in Nishizaki, Itoman City, Dai-Ei Hyper Mart in Awase, and four CoCo Mart supermarkets. Only Dai-Ei Department Store in Naha and Dai-Ei Department Store in Urasoe will remain.

Over 3,000 shoppers visited Kous on its last day of business. Many took extra time to talk to store clerks who are loosing their jobs and encouraged them to cheer up. The staff at Kous consisted of 10 full-time workers and 93 part timers.

“Today is our last day here, and it definitely is different from usual days,” Kous Manager Mitsuo Hosokawa said. “We will be missing this store, of course, but it’s encouraging how many customers have talked me today and told me to look for a brighter future.”

Dai-Ei’s closures will leave a total of 760 people jobless in Okinawa, and although Dai-Ei Headquarters has set up a special section to help its former workers to find new jobs. The situation is grim, and with other companies announcing closures - Ocean View Hotel announced last week that it will close leaving 70 people without work - Okinawa Prefecture employment officials find very few reasons to smile.

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