Japanese Convenience Store Sales Almost Flat in March

Economy

Tokyo, April 22 (Jiji Press)--Convenience store sales in Japan stayed almost flat in March, gaining only 0.03 pct from a year before to 850.2 billion yen on a same-store basis, the Japan Franchise Association said Monday.

Although sales increased for the fifth straight month, demand for "bento" boxed meals, drinks, ice cream and other items popular during the cherry blossom-viewing season were sluggish due to lower temperatures in late March.

Cigarette sales maintained growth after the effects of last October's tax increase waned. Sales of hot noodles also rose.

The number of customers decreased for the first time in two months, down 1.6 pct. Per-customer spending increased for the fifth consecutive month, up 1.7 pct at 631 yen.

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