Japan May Store Sales Post 1st Drop in 3 Mths on Bad Weather

–Japan May Department Store Sales -1.0% Y/Y Vs Apr +1.3%

TOKYO (MNI) – Department store sales in Japan fell 1.0% in May,
marking the first year-on-year drop in three months, hit by stormy
weather and fewer public holidays, data released by the Japan Department
Stores Association showed on Monday.

The decrease followed increases by 1.3% in April and 14.1% in
March, which were in a rebound from depressed sales of a year before,
when the earthquake disaster dampened national consumer confidence and
destroyed homes, offices and stores in northeastern Japan.

Rain storms during the Golden Week holidays and low temperatures in
the middle of May hurt overall sales, the association said.

In addition, there were two less public holidays last month
compared with a year earlier, which is estimated to have lowered
department store sales by 3 to 4 percentage points.

But sales of jewelry and other luxury items remained strong, up
3.4% on year in May, while some stores continued attracting visitors
from China and Taiwan who are returning to Japan after the Fukushima
nuclear meltdown scared them away last year.

The association compiles data from 86 companies running 249
department stores that have been open for at least a year prior to the
survey being conducted. The data are adjusted to facilitate comparisons
on a same-store basis.

In Tokyo, combined sales at 26 department stores increased 2.1% on
the year in May, thanks to new tourist spots in the capital and solid
demand for casual business clothing for the summer, posting the third
consecutive y/y gain after +6.7% in April and +26.7% in March.

tokyo@marketnews.com
** MNI Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4835 **

[TOPICS: M$J$$$,M$A$$$,MAJDS$]

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