Takashimaya Nihonbashi

TOKYO—Retailers in Japan saw higher December sales than the previous year, boosted by chilly weather and the start of the new year clearance sale period.

Fast Retailing said Friday that same store sales among its Uniqlo stores in Japan were up 18.1 percent on the year last month. Customer numbers increased by 13.5 percent, while the average purchase per customer grew by 4 percent.

“Same-store sales rose sharply year on year in December, with winter ranges selling well across the board on the back of persistently cold weather, and attractive year-end sales encouraging large numbers of customers into Uniqlo stores,” the company said.

After closing one store in December but not opening any, Fast Retailing currently counts 791 Uniqlo stores in Japan.

Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store operator, said that same-store sales at its eight stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area were up 1.4 percent in December. This marked the seventh consecutive month of year-on-year sales increases for the stores. Locations in city centers saw the largest growth, with sales at the Mitsukoshi stores in Tokyo’s Ginza and Nihonbashi districts growing by 6.1 and 4.9 percent, respectively.

Sales among Takashimaya’s 17 department stores in Japan increased by 0.8 percent on the year in December. Both big-ticket items and winter staples such as coats, gloves and scarves performed well, bolstered by a jump in duty-free sales, which grew by 26 percent.

“December sales at our large-format stores such as those in Osaka, Kyoto and Shinjuku, which are popular among inbound tourists to Japan, exceeded last year’s levels,” Takashimaya said.

H2O Retailing, which operates the Hankyu and Hanshin chains of department stores, said same-store sales were up 4.8 percent on the year last month. The Hankyu flagship store in Osaka’s Umeda district saw December sales growth of 6.4 percent. Last month marked 13 straight months of sales growth for the retailer.

J. Front Retailing said that monthly sales among its 17 Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores grew 2.9 percent compared with the previous December. The largest growth came from the Daimaru store in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi area, which saw a sales increase of 10.3 percent.

“Lower December temperatures than normal years led to vigorous movement of both women’s and men’s coats, while clothing, accessories and interior goods also performed favorably during the Christmas sale season,” J. Front said. “Strong sales of cosmetics, jewelry, and luxury brand goods continued throughout the month.”