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ORANGE COUNTY, CA-In a move that reflects both shrinking sales at America’s personal computer companies and the retrenchment of Tokyo-based firms that once did great business in the United States, Japanese-owned CIE America Inc. says it will close its big Tustin facility and lay off most of the employees who survived the company’s previous cutbacks.

CIE America makes computer printers and related products. It was recently sold by a unit of Tokyo-based conglomerate Itochu Corp. to El Segundo-based Citizen America Corp., which itself is a unit of Tokyo’s Citizen Watch Co.

The closure of CIE’s Tustin plant will throw more than 50,000 sf of commercial space back onto Orange County’s already struggling market. It will also mean the loss of 24 jobs, on top of the 26 workers who have been let go by CIE America since its retrenchment began in December, says CIE marketing coordinator Chip Dorman.

Sales of personal and business computers have tumbled over the past few months, analysts say, subsequently lowering demand for printers made by CIE and its competitors. Though US-based PC manufacturers such as IBM and Apple Computer have been reluctant to initiate massive plant-closures, Japanese firms—which dominate the printer and peripherals market—have been more willing to take swift action because many Tokyo-based companies are suffering financial woes, and their country remains mired in a deep recession.

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