By and  on October 10, 2008

TOKYO — Japanese department store companies Takashimaya Co. and H2O Retailing Corp., the parent of Hankyu and Hanshin Department Stores, said Friday they are forming a strategic alliance and planning to merge their operations within the next three years.

The merger would create Japan’s second biggest department store group in terms of sales after Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd., with annual revenue of about 1.5 trillion yen, or $15.2 billion.

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