June 29, 2020 / 7:03 AM / 17 days ago

UPDATE 1-Japan's J.Front Retailing forecasts loss, boosts credit lines

(Recasts with loss forecast)

TOKYO, June 29 (Reuters) - Japanese department store operator J.Front Retailing Co forecast a 30 billion yen ($280 million) operating loss for the year through February and said it increased its credit lines as stores grapple with poor sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The company also warned of a 30 billion yen operating loss for the six months through August rather than breaking even as it had previously forecast, blaming temporary store closures, a dearth of tourists and weak consumer spending.

Kyodo news agency earlier reported that J.Front secured credit lines totalling 300 billion yen ($2.80 billion) from banks including Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group.

J.Front, which owns department stores including Daimaru and Matsuzakaya, did not confirm the amount, but said it needed to be ready for risks of a serious fallout.

“In case the impact of COVID-19 is greater than expected, the company has curtailed investments... as well as taken measures taken measures such as increasing the amount of credit lines for fund raising,” it said.

MUFG declined to comment, while SMFG couldn’t be reached for comment immediately.

$1 = 107.0800 yen Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Takashi Umekawa; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Christopher Cushing

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