Bloomberg News

TOKYO — Merrill Lynch & Co., which operates Japan’s only foreign-owned retail brokerage network, may close some of its 33 branches here after three years of losses.

“I would not rule out consolidating a couple of offices down the line,” said Winthrop Smith, chairman of Merrill Lynch International Inc., in an interview this week. “If we do, it is to make the business better.”

Merrill said it does not expect to report a profit on the Japan retail brokerage business for the fiscal year that ended March. It lost $184 million before taxes the previous year and $211 the one before that.

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