TOKYO — Japan’s retailers saw mixed sales in April, as changeable weather helped some companies but hindered others.
Uniqlo’s corporate parent Fast Retailing said Wednesday that same-store sales for April dropped 6.8 percent on the year “as cool weather throughout the month kept sales of summer items sluggish.”
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store operator, saw sales at its nine main stores grow 5.5 percent in the month. Of those nine stores, the largest increase came from the retailer’s flagship store in Tokyo’s Nihonbashi, where sales were up 8.0 percent. Not included in the total was the Mitsukoshi store in Sendai, close to the epicenter of last year’s earthquake and tsunami. That store saw a jump in sales of 53.8 percent in April, coming off a post-quake base the previous year.
Takashimaya, another department store operator, said Tuesday that sales at its 18 stores in Japan increased by 1.8 percent last month.
“Because of factors such as the early stages of the Cool Biz sales wars and rising temperatures, fashion items including clothing and accessories performed favorably,” the company said in a release. “Also, big-ticket items continued to show promising sales.” Cool Biz refers to the Japanese government’s initiative that encourages office workers to dress more casually in summer to cut back on the use of air conditioning.
Takashimaya also noted that an increase in the number of customers that visited its stores in Shinjuku and Nihonbashi had a positive effect on sales in April.
J. Front Retailing, which operates the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya chains of department stores, said same-store sales for the month were up 2.5 percent on the year, the 13th straight month of increases. The company currently has 21 stores throughout Japan.
“Fashion products geared toward spring and early summer, such as ladies’ dresses and blouses and men’s jackets and pants, moved very well, and large-ticket items such as luxury brands, art and jewelry also continued to perform well,” J. Front said in a release.
H2O Retailing’s same-store sales at its Hankyu and Hanshin department stores were down 4.8 percent in the month of April.