Japan's department store sales slump 5.4% on year in Feb

17:06, March 19, 2010      

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Japan's department store sales fell 5.4 percent in February from a year earlier, marking the 24th straight year-on-year drop, the Japan Department Stores Association (JDSA) said on Friday.

Sales in the reporting month came to 436.4 billion yen (4.82 billion U.S. dollars) although the industry body said that the three-month moving average for sales is still on an upward trend.

According to JDSA, whilst consumers remain somewhat thrifty amid a harsh economic climate, sales are recovering at a moderate but consistent pace.

Sales of imported goods and jewelry have improved, thanks to the government's economic stimulus measures, stabilizing stock prices and improving corporate profits, JSDA said.

Including sales at stores that were opened within the past year, department store revenue fell 7.1 percent on year in February, having posted a drop of 7 percent in January, said the industry body.

Combined sales at the 27 department stores surveyed in the Tokyo Metropolitan area in the reporting month fell 6.5 percent from a year earlier to 107.0 billion yen (1.18 billion U.S. dollars), marking a 24th consecutive month of decline.

Japanese department stores got a boost from tourists however in February, thanks in part to the Lunar New Year, with sales surging 220.5 percent from a year earlier, following a 24.8 percent rise in January, JDSA said, noting that these figures were based on a smaller sample of 41 department stores surveyed.

Typically, the Japan Department Stores Association compiles data from 86 companies running 269 department stores that have been open for at least a year prior to the survey being conducted.

JDSA adjusts its data to facilitate comparisons on a same-store basis.

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