Japan March Convenience Store Sales Log Biggest Fall since Oct. 2010

Economy

Tokyo, April 20 (Jiji Press)--Sales at convenience stores in Japan in March were down 5.8 pct from a year before at 833.8 billion yen on a same-store basis, marking the steepest drop since the 5.9 pct fall in October 2010, an industry group said Monday.

Sales were pushed down by the effects of stay-at-home requests by authorities amid the coronavirus epidemic, according to the Japan Franchise Association. Many stores in urban areas saw sharp decreases in customers, as events were canceled and people switched to working from home, while a number of outlets were forced to suspend operations due to the closures of the facilities in which they are located.

The number of customers fell 8.2 pct, the largest drop since the current measurement method was introduced in 2005.

"Customers have decreased further since the government's declaration of a state of emergency (earlier this month) over the pandemic, and we predict worse sales figures for April," an association official said.

In March, sales of foods such as "onigiri" rice balls and "bento" boxed meals dropped by 6.6 pct, and those of tickets and other services by 19.8 pct, each marking a record decrease. Sales of nonfood products fell 3.3 pct, despite strong sales of sanitary items such as face masks and toilet paper.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press