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Duty-free chain Laox to close half of stores in Japan

Chinese-owned retailer seeks more job cuts in shift away from tourist customers

The coronavirus-induced travel slump has forced Laox to rethink its business model, such as a focus on food at a recently opened branch in Osaka.  (Photo by Toshiki Sasazu)

TOKYO -- Duty-free store operator Laox will close half of its locations in Japan, the company said Tuesday, seeing no recovery on the horizon from a plunge in Chinese, South Korean and other Asian tourists.

The 12 stores marked for closure include locations in Fukuoka, Hokkaido and Okinawa. Some of the shops had been shut temporarily in response to the coronavirus outbreak.

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