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Japan Retailers See Mixed September Sales

Unseasonably warm weather deterred shoppers from purchasing fall styles.

TOKYO Sales among Japanese retailers were mixed in September, as unseasonably warm weather deterred shoppers from purchasing fall styles.

Fast Retailing said Tuesday that comps at its Uniqlo stores in Japan fell 2.4 percent year-on-year, while customer numbers were up by just 0.2 percent.

“Same-store sales held flat year on year in September as lingering summer heat through the latter part of the month stifled sales of fall-winter clothing,” the company said in a release.

Isetan Mitsukoshi also saw a slight drop in sales during the month. Sales at its nine main stores in Japan were down by 0.4 percent, but included in this figure is the company’s Isetan Shinjuku flagship store, of which some sections are currently closed for renovations. That store alone saw a drop in sales of 1.9 percent. However, other stores, such as Ginza Mitsukoshi and Isetan Tachikawa, saw sales increase by over 4 percent in September. This marks the fourth straight month of declining sales for the retailer’s nine major Japan stores.

Another department store operator, Takashimaya, reported a 1.0 percent increase in sales at its 18 stores across Japan, with some stores, including the company’s Osaka location, seeing sales jump by over 10 percent.

“Despite the negative effect of prolonged late summer heat and typhoon weather, sales of products including high-priced items increased promisingly and one additional holiday led to an increase in sales over last year,” Takashimaya said in a release on Monday.

 

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Hankyu Hanshin Department Stores, operated by H2O Retailing, said that its overall sales in Japan dropped 4.6 year-on-year in September. When calculated on a same-store basis, the drop is even greater, at 5.5 percent. The discrepancy is due to recent store openings and renovations, including the opening of Hankyu Men’s Tokyo last October. The Hankyu Umeda flagship store in Osaka particularly suffered, with sales sliding 17.1 percent. September marks the seventh straight month of declining sales for the retailer.

In recent months, J. Front Retailing has represented a bright spot among the Japanese department store scene. Last month sales at its Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores rose by 3.7 percent, with the Daimaru Tokyo store, which has been undergoing a rolling expansion, seeing a jump of 33.4 percent.

“Although sales of autumn fashions were sluggish due to a transition to higher temperatures compared with normal years, [sales of] big-ticket articles such as luxury brand goods, art and jewelry were favorable,” J. Front said in a release.