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Yamato's famed customer-centric approach under strain

Japanese package shipper making tough choices amid a changing society

TOKYO -- Yamato Holdings, parent of Japanese logistics heavyweight Yamato Transport, is learning the hard way that the customer is not always right when it comes to business strategy.

Package volume is set to rise 8% to 1.87 billion pieces for the current fiscal year ending this month. Meanwhile, operating profit is forecast to sink to 58 billion yen ($510 million), a level not seen since the global financial crisis. The group has to rely on outside contractors to handle excess parcels, and any higher intake will squeeze earnings accordingly.

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