TOKYO — Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings said March 7 that its president and chief executive officer, Hiroshi Onishi, will step down from his position. The company said the reason for the change is “to attempt to elevate the business value even more by implementing a complete change of the management structure.”Onishi will remain ceo until the end of this month, and will be succeeded by Toshihiro Sugie on April 1. Onishi will remain a member of Isetan Mitsukoshi’s board for the time being, but is expected to retire from that position at the shareholders’ meeting scheduled for June.Kunio Ishizuka, the chairman and representative director of Japan’s largest department store operator, is also expected to retire at the June meeting. No announcement has been made regarding Ishizuka’s successor.Sugie, now 56 years old, joined Isetan in 2012. His current position within Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings is director and general manager of the company's strategic planning headquarters.As more and more younger consumers change their spending habits to buy online and from smaller retailers, Japan’s department stores have suffered in recent years. During his tenure as president and ceo, Onishi worked to turn Isetan Mitsukoshi’s business around by focusing more on opening smaller, specialized stores such as the chain of semiself-selection beauty stores called Isetan Mirror, a luxury travel store at Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport, and a concept shop called Isetan Salone in Tokyo’s Roppongi district. It has also expanded its international reach with concept stores in Paris and Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.Still, all these changes have yet to produce a substantial business turnaround for one of Japan’s leading retailers. Profits have continued to fall, having recently taken a hit due to slower growth in the number of international tourists entering Japan.Isetan Mitsukoshi is predicting a 51 percent drop in net profit for the fiscal year ending March 31. It expects its yearly operating profit will take a hit of 27.5 percent.
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