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Isetan Mitsukoshi's new chief seeks to repeat Malaysia success

Toshiyuki Hosoya tapped to lead Japanese department store chain into digital age

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings CEO Toshihiko Sugie, left, bumps fists with his successor, Toshiyuki Hosoya. Hosoya is the best in the company at reviving struggling operations, Sugie said.

TOKYO -- With the coronavirus chill hanging over Japanese brick-and-mortar retail, department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings has named one of its star executives who rebuilt operations in Malaysia and Japan to lead the company into the digital age.

Toshiyuki Hosoya, 56, will succeed Toshihiko Sugie as group CEO effective April 1, Isetan Mitsukoshi said Friday. Though Hosoya, who is now president of Fukuoka-based unit Iwataya Mitsukoshi, expressed his enthusiasm for expanding the group's digital operations, he also acknowledged the challenges traditional department stores face amid the pandemic and the rise of online rivals.

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