Japanese retail sales dropped more than expected in December.
The county’s retail sales fell 1.1 percent last month, marking their second straight month of declines, according to data released Thursday from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Sales slid 1.1 percent in November after growing 1.8 percent in October.
But the country’s department stores appeared to fare better than the average retailer. Department store sales in December inched up 0.1 percent over last year to more than 709.8 billion yen, or $5.82 billion at average exchange rates, according to the Japan Department Store Association.
Japanese department stores have put in an uneven performance in recent months, but tourist spending has helped boost business at certain stores, particularly in urban areas such as Tokyo.
The number of foreign visitors to Japan jumped 47.1 percent year-on-year in 2015, to 19.74 million, according to preliminary figures by the Japan National Tourism Organization. Japan, along with South Korea, is a key shopping destination for Chinese tourists.
In response to the trend, retailers are reaching out to travelers with new formats and products. Just this week, Isetan Mitsukoshi opened a duty-free store in the Mitsukoshi Ginza store.