business news in context, analysis with attitude

• Seiyu, the Japanese retailer that is 53.6 percent owned by Wal-Mart, said today that it expects a 76 percent greater loss this year than previously projected, and attributed the increase to a seven percent cut in its labor force, mostly headquarters staff, that was instituted because of low sales.

However, the Washington Post reports this morning that COO Toru Noda said that he expected that this would be the last time major job cuts would be necessary, and that he did not expect Seiyu to begin closing down stores.

The Post notes that Wal-Mart has invested more than $1 billion (US) in Seiyu, but has been unable to get the kind of traction in the marketplace that it hoped for – which has led to some rumors that the company might bail out of the Japanese market.
KC's View:
It has been my experience when working in corporate settings that when an executive announces job cuts but says these will be the last job cuts, he’s not usually telling the truth. It isn’t necessarily a deliberate lie (though I could tell you a few stories about former employers who only lied when their lips moved), but it isn’t the truth, because it can't be the truth. They just don't know.

I’ve been told that the job cuts by Wal-Mart in Japan – there have been two sets now – have done a lot toward undermining its position in that country. Consumers react to them there in a way that they would not here in the US. It is seen as dishonorable behavior, and that is never a good thing.