BCN-08 Japan’s department store sales drop 29 pct in January due to COVID-19 emergency





Japan’s department store sales drop 29 pct in January due to COVID-19 emergency

TOKYO, Feb 25,2021 (BSS/XINHUA) – Japan’s department store sales dropped 29.7 percent on a same-store basis from a year earlier in January owing to falling patronage as a second state of emergency over the COVID-19 pandemic was declared, the Japan Department Stores Association said Thursday.

According to the association, sales comprising 196 stores dropped for a 16th straight month in the recording period to total 326.51 billion yen (3.7 billion U.S. dollars).

The latest figures compare to a 13.7-percent slump logged in December 2020, the industry body also said, adding that the latest decline saw patronage drop 40 percent as the numbers of shoppers decreased, particularly older customers.

The Japan Department Stores Association added that many of the stores surveyed had shortened their operating hours in line with the government’s request under the state of emergency.

Separately, the Japan Chain Stores Association said supermarket sales in Japan on a same-store basis increased 1.2 percent from the previous year, marking the fourth successive month of increase.

The association said the increase was down as more people stocked up food and other products amid calls from the government for people to refrain from making unnecessary trips outdoors under the state of emergency.

Sales of food jumped from a year earlier by 6.2 percent, the association said.

“Customers are much more strictly watching prices and changing their shopping attitude to complete purchases in a shorter time,” Atsushi Inoue, managing director of the association, was quoted as saying.

Inoue also highlighted that customers’ purchasing behavior had changed as a result of the virus spread.