Japan Stores See Higher Sales in February

Uniqlo posted a 9.6 percent jump while other retailers saw more modest gains.

TOKYO — Japanese retailers saw sales increase in February, a factor companies attributed to a variety of factors including a successful Valentine’s Day sales season.
Fast Retailing said Monday that comps at its Uniqlo stores in Japan increased 9.6 percent in February. The company attributed the rise to its ability to clear out inventory of winter garments, as well as strong performance by styles featured in a spring advertising campaign. After closing two doors in February, Fast Retailing currently operates 827 Uniqlo stores in Japan.
Japan’s largest department store operator, Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, also saw an increase in sales in February, albeit small. Sales at the company’s nine main stores were up by 0.8 percent compares with the same month last year. Even the Isetan Shinjuku flagship store in Tokyo, which has been partially closed while it undergoes rolling renovations, experienced a slight increase in sales. The Ginza branch of Mitsukoshi, which was also renovated in 2010, saw sales growth of 5.3 percent.
Like Isetan Mitsukoshi, Takashimaya’s sales growth was modest, with sales at its 18 stores in Japan increasing 0.3 percent. It was the retailer’s first sales increase in three months.
“February sales…exceeded those of last year, as a rise in stock prices led to favorable performance of high-priced items such as luxury clothing and accessories and fine jewelry,” Takashimaya said in a release.
H2O Retailing said that same-store sales at its Hanshin and Hankyu department stores increased 13.4 percent year-on-year in February. In particular, sales at the Hankyu Umeda flagship store, which was renovated and reopened last fall, rose 53.1 percent.
Among Japan’s major department store operators, J. Front Retailing has seen relatively steady sales increases over the past several months. February was no exception, as sales at the company’s 19 Daimaru and Matsuzakaya stores grew by 4.6 percent. The company said that top-performing categories included luxury brand goods, fine art and jewelry. February marks the seventh straight month of sales increases for Daimaru Matsuzakaya.