The retail slump claimed another victim yesterday as a second department store announced it is to close with the loss of 155 jobs. The end of the Matsuzakaya store in Causeway Bay coupled with 2,700 redundancies from the Yaohan failure last year has sparked fears for the whole retail industry. Another Japanese retailer, Daimaru, is reportedly considering closing its Causeway Bay store due to high rents. Matsuzakaya will close its doors on August 31 after 23 years in Hong Kong. Local management has set up a taskforce including 15 staff representatives to negotiate compensation and the staff's future. The Nagoya-based Matsuzakaya firm last week blamed weak consumer demand for a predicted 9.7 billion yen (HK$601 million) net loss for the year ending Saturday. Although department stores have been hit hard by the downturn, job losses are happening across the retail sector, said Clothing Industry, Clerical and Retail Trade Employees General Union secretary Cheung Lai-ha. 'We have received complaints about layoffs recently at such big retail chains as Tse Sui Luen Jewellery and Giordano. It might just be the beginning,' she said, adding that the Government should give more retraining to shop workers. The Retail Management Association said department stores had been hit hardest due to their large floor space, and called for rent cuts of up to 40 per cent so shops could weather the storm. 'We dare not say if there will be more closures, but we're sure the sector is going through the biggest adjustment since the war,' said Mark Kwok Chi-yat, who represents department stores at the association. Department stores fared badly last Christmas, with December sales down 29 per cent on the previous year. Till receipts were not expected to improve this year due to rising unemployment and falling consumer confidence, Mr Kwok said. It was 'business as usual' yesterday at Matsuzakaya, with many sales staff optimistic about finding new work in the future.