Dwindling numbers of department stores and supermarkets - key retail outlets for Wacoal Corp - are prompting the Japanese lingerie maker to open its own stores.

Wacoal today said it would invest 7.0 billion yen ($60.2m) on 160 new Japanese shops under its direct management in fiscal 2003/2004.

The number of shops selling Wacoal products fell to 5,800 at the end of fiscal 2001/2002 from 6,200 at the end of fiscal 1998/1999. The knock-on effect was a decline in lingerie sales which fell by 8.2 billion yen ($70.5m) to the end of fiscal 2001/2002.