TOKYO — January sales among Japanese retailers were mixed, as cold weather and a rare dump of snow both boosted performance of winter items and persuaded some would-be shoppers to stay at home.
Fast Retailing said Thursday that comps at its Uniqlo stores across Japan increased 7.9 percent.
“Same-store sales rose year-on-year in January as cold weather throughout the month boosted sales of Heattech and other winter garments,” the company said in a release.
J. Front Retailing also reported Thursday that January same-store sales at its Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores rose 2.2 percent, the 10th straight month of year-on-year increases. The company currently operates 21 department stores in Japan.
“January sales in our department store business increased due to large sales growth at our Umeda [Osaka] store, as well as the swift movement of gloves, scarves and other cold-weather items during clearance sales, and favorable performance of luxury brands, watches, jewelry and other high-priced items,” J. Front said in a release.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store operator, saw sales at nine of its main stores increase by 0.8 percent on the year. In Tokyo, sales at Isetan Shinjuku and Ginza Mitsukoshi were up, but Mitsukoshi’s flagship in Nihonbashi saw a decline of 1.3 percent.
Takashimaya said Wednesday that January sales at its 18 department stores in Japan fell 1.9 percent. It cited the unusually cold weather and unexpected snowfall as reasons for a decline in customer numbers, which in turn affected sales of everything from men’s and women’s wear to food. Watches, jewelry and home goods, however, experienced an increase in sales compared with the same month last year.
Overall sales at Hankyu and Hanshin department stores, operated by H2O Retailing, were up 8.4 percent on the year in January. However, this was largely due to openings and expansions over the past year, as sales decreased by 3.6 percent when calculated on a same-store base.