TOKYO:

The Pak Banker - - COMPANIES/BOSS -

McDon­ald's Corp.'s Ja­pan busi­ness fore­cast that it will re­turn to full-year prof­itabil­ity for the first time in three years, as the com­pany de­ploys new mea­sures in an at­tempt to win back cus­tomers af­ter be­ing hit by a se­ries of food crises. Net in­come will prob­a­bly be 1 bil­lion yen ($8.7 mil­lion) for the year end­ing De­cem­ber 2016, the fast-food chain said in a state­ment Tues­day. The com­pany has said in April it would shut stores and cut jobs to cope with the scan­dals in­clud­ing for­eign ob­jects found in its food. "We've seen a con­sid­er­able re­ver­sal of mo­men­tum in the later half of 2015 and the mo­men­tum con­tin­ues to grow," Pres­i­dent Sarah Casanova said at a post-earn­ings press con­fer­ence in Tokyo Tues­day, adding she's plan­ning to ac­cel­er­ate the com­pany's re­cov­ery. "There's a pos­si­bil­ity to grow prof­itabil­ity more. It's dif­fi­cult to put a time­line on it." The fast food chain, which last month in­tro­duced the salty-sweet "McChoco Potato" fries to Ja­panese cus­tomers, saw its first in­crease in cus­tomers since April 2013, as vis­i­tors to its stores open at least a year rose 17 per­cent in Jan­uary and sales in­creased 35 per­cent. The im­prove­ment comes as its par­ent pon­ders sell­ing a stake in the Ja­pan unit, as Oak Brook, Illinois-based McDon­ald's re­views its own­er­ship strate­gies world­wide. Casanova said it's pre­ma­ture to com­ment on the par­ent's stake sale and added the com­pany will com­plete store clo­sures in the first half of this year.

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