WWD.com/business-news/financial/japans-retailers-see-mixed-sales-in-august-5104740/

TOKYO—Japanese retailers reported mixed sales for August, citing various factors including unseasonable weather and fewer weekend days than the same month last year.

Uniqlo, owned by Fast Retailing Co. Ltd.,  said Friday that its same-store sales in August dropped 9.4 percent “as cooler weather in the first part of the month slowed sales of summer garments.” The comps refer only to Uniqlo’s Japanese business and not its international locations; Uniqlo  currently operates 822 stores in Japan.

Department store operator Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings said Thursday that sales at its nine major Japan locations increased 1.5 percent compared to the same month last year, despite planned closings of certain stores on some days in August. Sales at the Ginza Mitsukoshi store, which was partially closed last year due to renovations, nearly tripled, while sales at Mitsukoshi’s Chiba branch outside of Tokyo fell 12.5 percent.

“At the Nihonbashi [Mitsukoshi] store, sales of big-ticket items like watches, international tour packages, and other luxury items were unexpectedly strong,” a spokesman for the company said. “Also, women’s clothing and accessories sold well from about the middle of the month, when the fall collections started coming in.”

The spokesman went on to say that the reopening of the Ginza store had a great effect on the retailer’s overall August sales.

Takashimaya posted a 0.9 percent decrease in sales at its 18 stores in Japan. The retailer attributed this to August having one fewer Sunday than it did last year, and said that if the months had been equal, sales would have been up by 0.8 percent. Sales decreased at all but one of Takashimaya’s stores in the eastern half of Japan, which includes Tokyo, but stores in the western part of the country performed better. The company said that sales of certain categories, such as women’s accessories, luxury items and jewelry, have increased three months in a row.

J. Front Retailing said that same-store sales at its Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores rose 2.2 percent in August, the fifth consecutive month of year-on-year sales increases. However, for the period between March and August, sales fell overall by 0.7 percent, due mainly to the effects of the March earthquake and tsunami.