Watami to Close All 7 Directly Run Eateries in Mainland China

Economy

Tokyo, Feb. 5 (Jiji Press)--Japanese bar and restaurant chain Watami Co. <7522> said Wednesday that it will close all seven directly run "Watami" brand eateries in mainland China in spring in the wake of the widespread outbreak of pneumonia blamed on a new strain of coronavirus in the country.

The outbreak is expected to continue for an extended period of time, and uncertainty over the Chinese economy is increasing as a result, according to the company.

The seven outlets to be shut are in Shanghai, Shenzhen, Suzhou and Guangzhou. The company is currently examining the impact of the closures on its earnings.

Meanwhile, four outlets run on an outsourcing basis in mainland China, and eateries in Hong Kong and Taiwan, will continue operations, Watami said.

Pointing to a steep decline in the number of customers in China reflecting the viral outbreak, a company official said: "We have no idea when the crisis will be brought under control. We'll face difficulties continuing the operations of our outlets if the number of customers stays at the current level."

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press