Wal-Mart’s Japanese subsidiary Seiyu has said its losses for the first half have increased by 409% to JPY54bn (US$465m) from JPY10.6bn in the first half of last year.

First-half turnover fell by 2.9% to JPY468bn. However, Seiyu’s CEO Ed Kolodzieski said there were clear signs of progress in the first six months, with comparative store sales up by 1.4%. The increased net loss was attributed to a one-time write-off.

Kolodzieski added that while the first half had not met expectations, Seiyu had reduced costs and expenses, opened new stores and closed underperforming outlets.

Food sales rose by 1.7% in the first half, with clothing up 0.8% and general merchandise sales rising by 3.9% on a comparative store basis, the company said.

Having first entered the market in 2002, Wal-Mart now operates 400 stores in Japan through Seiyu, in which it increased its stake from 42% to 54% last December.