TOKYO -- Sanrio, the company behind Hello Kitty, will invest 5 billion yen ($45.7 million) in its suburban Tokyo theme park Puroland by 2020 to gradually update restaurants, shows and rides.
The company hopes the upgrades will help its theme park business, which has bled red ink since its inception, finally turn a profit.
The operating loss for the year ended in March is seen at between 100 million yen and 200 million yen, an improvement from fiscal 2014. Sales apparently rose nearly 20% to 7.8 billion yen.
Visitors to Puroland increased 25% to 1.58 million, with a new take on its showcase parade, in honor of the 25th anniversary of the park's opening, helping attract more repeat guests. Sanrio aims to raise annual attendance by more than 10% to 1.8 million.
In 2013, the company renovated the Sanrio Town section of Puroland, which accounts for one-fifth of the park's space, spending some 1.5 billion yen. The Lady Kitty House, where people can see Hello Kitty firsthand, has proved popular among women in their 20s, leading to a shift in visitor demographics previously concentrated on families.