By  on December 10, 2008

TOKYO — Don’t be fooled by the abundance of Christmas lights here — retailers have little to cheer about when it comes to the Japanese market.

Department stores are on track to post their 12th consecutive year of declining sales in 2008 and the outlook for next year is just as grim. Last week, Louis Vuitton and Dior cut their retail prices by 7 and 8 percent, respectively, joining a growing list of brands engaging in early markdowns here, including Prada, St. John, Tiffany & Co., Cartier and Montblanc. With spending slumping, Salvatore Ferragamo and Bally unveiled price reductions on fall-winter merchandise as early as the summer.

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