Ito-Yokado supermarket chain to withdraw from Tohoku, Hokkaido regions

Major supermarket chain Ito-Yokado is closing 17 stores in Japan, including all outlets in the country's north.

The move is part of the company's structural reforms. The chain has posted net losses for three consecutive years through February 2023.

Its parent firm Seven & i Holdings had earlier called for shutting 33 stores in the three years to February 2026.

The 17 stores to be shuttered include all six in Hokkaido and all eight in the Tohoku region. The outlets in Tohoku are in Aomori, Iwate, Miyagi and Fukushima prefectures.

The chain also plans to close two outlets in Nagano and one in Niigata. It will pull out of both prefectures.

Ito-Yokado says it has signed contracts with other supermarkets to transfer the operations of more than half of the 17 stores.

The chain says it plans to maintain as many jobs as possible by having workers re-employed by the new operators.

Ito-Yokado is now expected to focus on the food retail business mainly in the Tokyo metropolitan area, to turn its business around.