By  on February 4, 2010

TOKYO--Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings blamed sluggish consumer spending for a loss and declining sales in the first nine months of the fiscal year.

Japan’s largest department store retailer said Thursday that it posted a net loss of 10.48 billion yen, or $112.1 million at average exchange for the nine months ended Dec. 31. That compares to a profit of 15.75 billion yen, or $153.7 million a year earlier.

Sales dropped 11.2 percent to 978.56 billion yen, or $10.47 billion.

Citing unfavorable market conditions, Isetan Mitsukoshi forecast that its full-year sales will slide 11 percent to 1.27 trillion yen, or $14.03 billion at current exchange. The company said it expects to break even on the net profit level. Isetan Mitsukoshi’s fiscal year ends March 31.

Isetan Mitsukoshi also revealed Thursday it plans to halt its operations in France and liquidate its subsidiary there. France Mitsukoshi Inc., operates one Mitsukoshi store in Paris, which opened in June 1971. The store is set to close at the end of September.

Isetan Mitsukoshi remains hopeful for its business in China, however, unveiling plans to open a 17,000-square-meter Isetan store in Tianjin sometime between the end of this year and spring 2011. The company operates four Isetan branches and one Mitsukoshi in China, as well as a branch of Mitsukoshi in Taiwan.

Japanese department stores overall have been struggling for more than a decade, due to increasing competition from shopping malls and fast-fashion retailers. Another department store chain, Seibu, said in January it plans to shutter its outlet in Tokyo’s Yurakucho district by the end of the year. Seibu is owned and operated by Seven & i Holdings, which also owns the Sogo chain of department stores.

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