TOKYO — Sales among Japanese department stores were uneven in April, as demand from international visitors to the country continued to increase, while overall sales of clothing waned.
Fast Retailing said Friday that same-store sales at its Uniqlo units in Japan grew 1.3 percent year-over-year in April. Customer numbers were down 7.2 percent, but the average purchase per customer increased by 9.1 percent.
“Same-store sales rose year-on-year in April with higher temperatures through midmonth boosting sales of items featured in our latest advertising campaigns,” said Fast Retailing.
The company also noted that seven of its stores were forced to close temporarily due to damage from the earthquake that hit southern Japan on April 14. Two of those stores had reopened by the end of April, but four were unable to operate for more than a week, and so were removed from Uniqlo’s same-store total for the month.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings Ltd. said that sales at its nine department stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area slipped 3.1 percent on the year last month. Declines were posted by each individual store, however those in the city center, including Shinjuku, Nihonbashi and Ginza, had the smallest drops.
Takashimaya said April sales at its 17 stores in Japan were down 0.8 percent compared with the same month last year.
“Due in large part to an ongoing slump in clothing sales, April sales at our stores did not meet the levels of the previous year,” Takashimaya said. “Demand from inbound visitors continues to be strong, with sales to international tourists growing ten percent on the year to the largest ever single-month figure.”
H2O Retailing, which operates the Hankyu and Hanshin chains of department stores, said April sales among those stores inched up 0.6 percent. The company’s Hankyu Umeda flagship store, in the southwestern city of Osaka, saw its sales increase by 2.6 percent.
Sales at the 18 Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores in Japan fell 6.5 percent year-over-year last month, according to parent company J. Front Retailing. Only one individual store — Daimaru Tokyo — saw its monthly sales rise. That store posted growth of 3.1 percent.
J. Front said that its sales were hindered by construction work on its Shinsaibashi store in Osaka and its Nagoya store. It also said that a large increase in the number of international visitors to Japan in April 2015 made for a high comparative base of sales of jewelry and luxury goods.