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Australian Retailer Announces Record Profits, Job Cuts

A leading Australian retailer has announced major job cuts despite reporting record profits, and land prices in Japan's largest cities have risen for the first time in 16 years.

Australia's second-biggest retailer Coles Myer posted a net profit of more than $900 million for the financial year ending in June. This was a jump of 82 percent compared to a year earlier. The group's record profit followed the sale of its Myer department stores earlier this year for more than $440 million.

Despite the rise in earnings, Coles Myer announced it plans to cut more than 2,500 jobs over the next two years.

The company's chief executive officer, John Fletcher, says the job cuts are part of a plan to simplify and grow the retailer's business.

"Its simplicity allows us to take the cost out, its simplicity allows us to do things faster, and its simplicity gets leadership closer to customers," he said.

Land prices in Japan's three biggest cities went up for the first time since 1990, when the country's real estate and stock market bubble began to burst. In the fiscal year ending July first, commercial land prices in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya rose an average of 3.6 percent from a year earlier. Residential land prices gained an average of 0.4 percent.

Nationwide, however, land prices declined for the 15th year in a row, falling 2.4 percent on average compared to a year earlier.

South Korea's largest airline, Korean Air, signed a contract with China's largest logistics company, Sinotrans, to set up a cargo operation in China. The joint venture will start operations next year with three freight planes.