TOKYO — July sales among retailers in Japan suffered this year compared with last year, as extreme weather kept shoppers away from stores. Torrential rains in the southwest region of the country continued throughout most of the beginning of the month, while a strong typhoon later affected a wide geographical area.
Fast Retailing said same-store sales at its Uniqlo stores in Japan slipped 0.3 percent on the year last month. Customer numbers were down by 3.3 percent, while the average purchase per customer grew by 3.1 percent.
“Despite the unprecedented torrential rains in the first half of the month, subsequent hot weather resulted in strong sales of summer items for July as a whole,” Fast Retailing said. “Approximately 80 stores were temporarily closed due to damage caused by the torrential rains in the early part of July. One of those weather-afflicted stores was removed from the same-store total before the month’s data were calculated because it was unable to operate for over a week.”
After closing one store and no openings in July, Fast Retailing operates 788 Uniqlo stores in Japan.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store operator, said July same-store sales among its seven stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area dropped by 4.4 percent year on year. Of those seven stores, the only one to post growth was the Ginza branch of Mitsukoshi, where sales increased by 1.6 percent on the year.
Takashimaya said July sales from its 17 department stores in Japan were down 3.6 percent compared with the same month last year. The biggest drop came from the company’s Tachikawa store in western Tokyo, where sales plummeted 37.8 percent last month.
“The clearance sale that began from the end of the previous month started one day earlier than last year, and the effects of this, as well as weather events such as torrential rains and typhoons, resulted in not being able to reach the results of the previous year,” Takashimaya said.
H2O Retailing Corp., which operates the Hankyu and Hanshin chains of department stores, said same-store sales were down by 2 percent on the year last month. While sales from the Hankyu flagship store in Osaka’s Umeda district were flat, those of the Hanshin flagship in the same area fell by 12.5 percent.
J. Front Retailing said July sales at its 17 Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores decreased by 4.6 percent compared with the same month last year. Not a single individual store saw sales growth, and the biggest decline came from the Daimaru store in the western Japanese city of Kobe, where sales were down by 12.3 percent.
“Sales of cosmetics, luxury brand goods and fine watches, including to overseas visitors to Japan, continued to be favorable; there was one fewer Saturday during our clearance sale period compared to last year, torrential rains affected the Kansai region in the first third of the month, and a typhoon toward the end of the month affected much of the country, from the Tokyo region to Kyushu, leading to a decline in sales compared with the same month last year,” J. Front said.