All 4 Major Japan Dept. Store Firms Post Sales Drops in Dec.

Economy

Tokyo, Jan. 6 (Jiji Press)--All four major Japanese department store operators posted year-on-year declines in same-store sales in December, according to data released by the companies on Monday.

All of them logged a decrease for the third consecutive month. Demand continued to fall back after surging before the consumption tax hike to 10 pct from 8 pct in October. The decline also reflected sluggish sales of winter clothing as temperatures were relatively high.

J. Front Retailing Co. <3086> and Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. <3099> both posted a 5.9 pct fall. Takashimaya Co.'s <8233> sales went down 5.0 pct, while Sogo & Seibu Co., a unit of Seven & i Holdings Co. <3382>, suffered a 4.5 pct decline.

Still, many of them managed to reduce the rate of falls as demand for products including food rebounded although sales of high-priced products, which soared before the tax hike, remained sluggish.

"Sales of food gifts, such as year-end gifts, grew," an Isetan Mitsukoshi official said. "Cosmetics products performed well," a J. Front Retaining official noted. But such sales could not make up for slow demand for coats and other high-value clothing.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press