May 8, 2014 6:22 am JST

Watami seen swinging into the black in fiscal 2014

TOKYO -- Restaurant group Watami Co. is expected to bounce back from its worst net loss as a listed company with a roughly 2 billion yen ($19.4 million) profit this fiscal year.

     Sales are seen growing 4% to around 170 billion yen. The group will close 60 mostly money-losing restaurants, including links in its struggling Watami chain of Japanese-style pubs. At the same time, it will open 20 new locations of better-performing franchises, such as Sumishun, which serves charcoal-grilled fare.

     Watami will also expand its meal delivery and nursing care businesses.

     For the year ended March 31, the group now expects to post a 4.9 billion yen net loss.