TOKYO—Japanese department stores saw their sales slide in January but the numbers reflect an improvement from past months.
Sales at the country’s 271 department stores dropped 5.7 percent to 570.0 billion yen, or $6.24 billion at average exchange rates for the period, the Japan Department Stores Association said Thursday.
Retailers logged their 23th consecutive month of declining sales but the figures represent an improvement over the double-digit drops they registered on a regular basis last year. Over the past year or so, department stores have been closing underperforming units and rethinking their merchandise mix as consumers cut back on spending.
“It seemed that anxiety about the future of the economy was softened and [business was] recovering,” the association said.
Apparel sales slid 8.5 percent to 243.89 billion yen, or $2.67 billion.