Fortress to maintain all Sogo and Seibu stores for now: sources

Fortress Investment Group, which has acquired Sogo & Seibu, plans to maintain a total of 10 Sogo and Seibu department stores in Japan and the employment of current store workers for the time being, it was learned Tuesday.

Seven of the 10 department stores are located in the Tokyo metropolitan area. The other three are two Seibu stores in the cities of Akita and Fukui and a Sogo store in the city of Hiroshima.

Fortress is currently planning to keep even the three struggling regional stores, according to informed sources.

The U.S. investment firm now plans to spend a total of ¥60 billion, compared with at least ¥20 billion it initially considered, to renovate the existing stores, including opening an outlet of major electronics retailer Yodobashi Holdings at the Seibu Ikebukuro flagship store in Tokyo.

Yodobashi, which has partnered with Fortress, is also considering opening outlets at the Sogo Chiba store in the city of Chiba, east of Tokyo, and the Seibu Shibuya store in Tokyo’s Shibuya Ward, while purchasing the land for the Seibu Ikebukuro store and other locations for nearly ¥300 billion.

At the Seibu Ikebukuro store, a Yodobashi outlet is expected to occupy about half of the total retail space.

Any redundancies resulting from the renovation and other measures are expected to be absorbed by Fortress investee companies and companies under the umbrella of Seven & I Holdings, the previous parent of Sogo & Seibu.

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