TOKYO — Retailers in Japan saw mixed sales in February as tax-free sales to foreign visitors remained strong but launches of spring collections produced uneven results.
Fast Retailing said same-store sales from its Uniqlo stores in Japan were up by 3 percent on the year last month. The average purchase per customer declined by 1.4 percent, but customer numbers increased by 4.5 percent.
“February same-stores sales rose year-on-year thanks to a favorable launch of spring ranges,” Fast Retailing said.
After no openings and one closure last month, Fast Retailing counts 782 Uniqlo stores in its home market.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store operator, said February same-store sales among its seven stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area dropped by 1.6 percent compared with the same month last year. It was the third consecutive month of year-on-year sales decline for the retailer.
Takashimaya said sales from its 17 department stores across Japan gained 1.7 percent on the year last month. The biggest sales growth from an individual store came from the Osaka store, where February sales were up 7.3 percent.
“Overall sales in February were given a boost by expanding sales of big-ticket items, particularly luxury brand goods, as well as duty-free sales,” Takashimaya said.
H2O Retailing, which operates the Hankyu and Hanshin chains of department stores, said same-store sales from its stores increased by 2 percent year-on-year in February. This total does not include the Hanshin Umeda flagship store in Osaka. Due to ongoing renovation work, the sales area of that store has temporarily shrunk by 20 percent.
February sales from the 17 Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores in Japan gained 1.9 percent compared with the same month last year, parent company J. Front Retailing said. Only six individual stores saw their sales decline last month, with the biggest drop of 9.6 percent coming from the Matsuzakaya store in Tokyo’s Ueno district.
“Thanks to favorable sales of luxury brand goods and cosmetics, including tax-free sales to international customers visiting Japan, as well as a brisk sales battle over the Valentine’s Day period, February sales exceeded those of last year,” J. Front said.