TOKYO — Japanese retailers saw mixed sales in February, as unpredictable weather patterns resulted in both positive and negative effects. Cold weather in the first half of the month helped to boost sales of winter items, but snowfall in many parts of the country kept customers away from stores.
Fast Retailing said Friday that same-store sales among its Uniqlo stores in Japan increased by 5.1 percent on the year last month. Customer numbers were up just 0.2 percent, but the average purchase per customer grew by 4.8 percent.
“Same-stores sales rose year-over-year in February, with persistently cold weather in the first half of the month supporting strong sales of winter items, and new spring ranges getting off to a favorable start from the middle of the month,” the company said in a release.
After no openings and two closures last month, Fast Retailing currently operates 787 Uniqlo stores across Japan.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings saw same-store sales at its eight stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area grow by 3.5 percent in February, compared with the same month last year. The Matsudo branch of Isetan, located in Chiba prefecture to the east of Tokyo, performed particularly well, seeing a 65.3 percent rise in sales. This was largely due to aggressive discounting and an extended clearance sale period, as the store is slated to close its doors permanently on March 21. The Mitsukoshi branch in Tokyo’s Ginza district also performed well, with its sales rising 12.7 percent.
Takashimaya’s 17 department stores in Japan weren’t able to meet their sales levels of last February, instead seeing an overall decline of 0.4 percent. The biggest drop came from the Tachikawa store in western Tokyo, which is undergoing renovations and therefore some areas of the store are closed. Sales there contracted by 31 percent last month,” Takashimaya said in a release.
“In addition to the psychological effects of an unstable stock market, snowfall in the beginning of the month negatively impacted sales, resulted in the first year-over-year decline since July of last year,” it continued.
H2O Retailing, which operates the Hankyu and Hanshin chains of department stores, said February same-store sales grew by 5.2 percent. The Hankyu Umeda flagship in Osaka continues to perform well, with its sales gaining 8.3 percent on the year last month. The retailer has seen consistently strong sales, as February added to more than a year of increases each month.
J. Front Retailing said that sales among its 17 Daimaru and Matsuzakaya department stores were up 3.2 percent year-over-year last month. The Daimaru store in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi neighborhood performed particularly well, seeing sales growth of 13.4 percent. February marked the eleventh consecutive month of sales growth for the retailer.
“Lower temperatures than usual meant that while movement of women’s winter fashion items was slow, hats and gloves saw much more active sales. The Valentine’s Day sales period also yielded favorable results, and the categories of cosmetics, luxury brand goods and fine jewelry also enjoyed large increases in sales,” J. Front said in a release.