A struggling Japanese TV maker has come up with a novel way to boost sales -- force employees to buy its stuff

Sharp, the struggling Japanese electronics manufacturer, is making employees buy its products to boost flagging sales.

As first reported by Japanese paper Yomiuri Online (in Japanese), the company has told executives that they should spend at least 200,000 yen (£1,062; $US1,622) on Sharp goods by the end of January.

Middle managers must buy around 100,000 yen (£531; $US811) of products, and front line staff about 50,000 yen’s (£265; $US405) worth.

The reports, first picked up by the Financial Times, said that Sharp’s head of electronics Yoshisuke Hasegawa had asked employees to buy the goods to help the company “weather this extreme difficulty.”

Sharp has been struggling to compete with rivals in China and Taiwan, where companies can make and sell LCD screens and other electronics at far lower prices.

This has been reflected in Sharp’s awful recent results. In October, the company reported that in Q2 profits had fallen by 86% from the same period last year, and that its LCD TV business made a loss of 12.7 billion yen (£67 million; $US102 million). Sharp’s LCD panels are used by Apple in the iPhone.

The company has already withdrawn from the North American marke, and is now under pressure to sell the loss making LCD business. Shares in the company have fallen by nearly 70% in the last two years, and are currently at near 40-year lows.

A Sharp spokesperson admitted that employees had been asked to buy Sharp products, but denied that any specific targets had been set.

Business Insider has reached out to Sharp for further comment, and will update this story accordingly.

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