AEON has denied reports that a slump in demand at home has led Japan’s second-largest retailer to look to expand in India and Vietnam.

“Of course we see the opportunities there, as we do in other Asian countries, but, as of this moment in time, we do not have any firm plans,” a spokesman for Aeon told just-food.

Aeon, operator of Jusco general-merchandise stores, is struggling to spur sales in Japan.

The company recently scaled back its aggressive expansion blueprint, deciding that operating efficiency must be raised after five years of negative free cash flow and meagre returns on heavy investments.

The retailer has made big moves in recent years, opening new outlets and acquiring firms. Expansion into Asia seemed a logical next step, until the recession hit.