TOKYO — Several leading Japanese retailers saw significant sales growth in May, thanks to a low comparative base, a lucrative holiday period and high temperatures that boosted sales of summer items.
Many stores in Japan experienced a lull in sales in May 2014 as shoppers held back on their spending right after a sales tax hike the previous month. That low comparative base helped many stores turn in strong comps this month.
Fast Retailing said Tuesday that Uniqlo’s same-store sales in Japan increased 12.3 percent in May, compared with the same month last year. Customer numbers were up 2.8 percent, and the average purchase per customer grew by 9.3 percent.
“Same-store sales increased year on year in May, thanks to unusually hot weather during the month, buoyant sales over Japan’s Golden Week holiday and a strong Fast Retailing anniversary sale,” the company said.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store operator, said that sales among its nine stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area increased 12 percent last month. The Mitsukoshi store in Tokyo’s Ginza district performed particularly well, with sales jumping 33.2 percent on the year.
“Sales of watches and jewelry, which were greatly affected by last year’s tax increase recoil, increased 30 percent year-on-year. From the middle of the month, rising temperatures helped to move summer goods,” the retailer said.
Takashimaya said that sales at its 17 department stores in Japan grew 9.6 percent last month. Stores in urban areas, such as Tokyo and Osaka, saw the largest sales increases, often in the double digits. Categories that performed well included men’s and women’s summer fashion items, luxury brand goods, jewelry, and watches. The company said that it also saw a large increase in sales from international tourists visiting Japan.
H2O Retailing said sales among its Hankyu and Hanshin department stores in Japan increased by 5.6 percent in May. The Hankyu Umeda flagship store in the western city of Osaka saw year-on-year sales growth of 17.3 percent.
J. Front Retailing’s 18 Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores in Japan posted May sales growth of 10.5 percent on the year.
“In addition to favorable sales of summer fashion items such as parasols and sandals, sales to foreign visitors to Japan continued to increase, leading to a drastic increase in sales of luxury brand goods, fine art, jewelry, and cosmetics,” said J. Front.