OPERATIONS

Tesco pulls out of Japanese market

BY Katherine Boccaccio

London — Grocery giant Tesco PLC said Wednesday it is pulling out of Japan, which means shuttering 129 small, leasehold-owned stores in the Greater Tokyo area, which employ 4,000 people. The country is the smallest of Tesco’s international retail businesses, and the weakest for sales growth in the 2010-2011 fiscal year.

“Having made considerable efforts in Japan, we have concluded that we cannot build a sufficiently scalable business,” said Philip Clarke, CEO.

Tesco entered Japan with the purchase of 78 stores from retailer C Two-Network in 2003. It acquired another 27 stores from retail chain Fre’c in 2004, before expanding the business with its own stores. Tesco has since invested around $163 million in Japan, where it operates small-format stores, supermarkets and convenience stores under the Tsurakame, Tesco and Tesco Express banners.

A formal sale process is slated to occur over the coming months.

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U.S. consumer confidence plunges in August

BY Staff Writer

Washington, D.C. — A report released Tuesday by the Conference Board said that confidence among U.S. consumers sunk to a two-year low in August, as Americans faced continued unemployment woes and worsening business and economic conditions.

The Conference Board’s index plunged to 44.5, the weakest since April 2009 and the biggest point drop since October 2008. Economists predicted the August gauge would fall to 52, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg News survey.

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Books-A-Million cleared to take over 14 Borders leases

BY Staff Writer

New York City — A bankruptcy judge gave Books-A-Million the nod Monday to take over the leases of 14 Borders Group stores for just under $1 million.

The stores are located mostly on the East Coast, and Books-A-Million is expected to take over the leases effective Sept. 20.

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