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Isetan Mitsukoshi to Shutter Six Stores

The company will close a Tokyo flagship and other locations.

TOKYO—Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. said Thursday it will close six of its department stores in Japan, underscoring the weakness of consumer goods market in the island nation.

Isetan Co. and Mitsukoshi Ltd. merged earlier this year to become the country’s largest department store operator. In May of next year, it will shutter a Mitsukoshi in the busy shopping neighborhood of Ikebukuro in northwest Tokyo and subsequently sell the spot to a real estate investment trust for 75 billion yen, or $709 million. It will also close another five Mitsukoshi stores elsewhere in Japan in the spring of next year.

Department stores have been struggling to compete in Japan in the wake of rising prices for food and raw materials and increasing competition from shopping malls and other retailers. In August, the country’s department store sales dropped 3.1 percent to 506.1 billion yen, or about $4.8 billion, according to the Japan Department Stores Association.

For complete coverage see Friday’s WWD.