Onward Holdings has started offering voluntary retirement for the first time. The company is targeting about 350 rank-and-file employees 40 years and older who have worked at the company for three or more years. The move is a roughly 7% reduction of the 5,260-strong workforce. This is the first time for the company to institute such a measure.

Onward will accept voluntary retirements from January 7 to 30, 2020, with the retirements taking effect as of February 29. Those who voluntarily retire will receive special extra retirement payments in addition to their regular lump sum payment and also receive support to find employment. Onward is expected to record the cost of the measure as an extraordinary loss in its consolidated financial results in the fiscal year ending February, 2020.

Last October, the company decided to restructure its global business and has been making major shifts in its business model, announcing a policy of withdrawing from unprofitable businesses in Europe, the United States, Asia, and Japan, and downsizing operations.

In Japan, the company will push forward with a major elimination and consolidation of unprofitable stores in the department store field. In the Chinese market, sales of the 23Ku and ICB brands will be transferred to Shanghai Onward Fashion. In addition to withdrawing from some of Onward Italy’s business and closing unprofitable stores, the company is moving forward with a company-wide reorganization that will involve withdrawing from the Korean market by liquidating Onward Korea.

The company is ready to build an efficient organization with regard to its personnel structure. Onward says that it decided on voluntary retirements as an option for employees seeking a career change or a second life on the cusp of making major changes.