McDonald’s Japan Closing Stores After Forecasting Wider Loss

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McDonald’s Corp.’s Japan business forecast wider losses this year, announcing store closures and job cuts after sales suffered from food scandals.

McDonald’s Holdings Co. (Japan) would probably lose 38 billion yen ($318 million) this year, compared with a 21.8 billion yen loss in 2014, the company said Thursday in a Tokyo Stock Exchange statement. Sales were expected to drop 10 percent to 200 billion yen, it said.

The fast-food chain plans to close 131 stores this year, a cost of 4 billion yen, and to refurbish 2,000 others over the next few years, it said. About 100 jobs would be lost and the company’s president, Sarah Casanova, pledged to take a 20 percent pay cut for the next six months with other directors getting salary cuts of as much as 15 percent.

“I regret that today our company is not performing to the expectations of our customers, our stakeholders or our employees,” Casanova said at a briefing to discuss earnings. “Our No. 1 priority is to do everything we can to continue to enhance our food safety and quality systems and rebuild the trust of our customers.”

The company has faced difficulties after customers complained of finding foreign objects in its food, including a human tooth, prompting the company to announce preventive measures including store cleanings and inspections. Labor disputes at U.S. ports also forced it to ration french fries.

McDonald’s Japan fell 1 percent to 2,650 yen in Tokyo trading before the earnings announcement, compared with the benchmark Topix Index’s 0.7 percent gain.

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