TOKYO — Major department store chains in Japan saw increased sales in June over the same month last year as sales to overseas visitors to the country remained strong. Low-priced apparel retailers didn’t fare as well, with factors such as cooler than usual temperatures and the yearly rainy season negatively affecting their sales. A strong earthquake that struck the area around Osaka on June 18 led to temporary and partial closures of some stores, but didn’t seem to affect the monthly totals.
Fast Retailing said Tuesday that same-store sales at its Uniqlo stores in Japan decreased by 4 percent year on year. Customer numbers were down 7.5 percent, while the average purchase per customer grew by 3.8 percent.
“Same-store sales declined year on year in June as frequent cool weather dampened demand for summer items,” the company said.
After no openings and one closure last month, Uniqlo counts 789 stores across Japan.
Shimamura, a low-priced fashion retailer, cited similar reasons to Uniqlo for a drop of 9.2 percent in June sales, compared with the same month a year earlier. Customer numbers decreased by 2.9 percent, while the average purchase per customer contracted by 6.4 percent. Shimamura opened seven stores in June and had no closures, resulting in a current store count of 1,416.
Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store operator, said same-store sales at its seven stores in the Tokyo metropolitan area were up 12.1 percent on the year last month. Locations in the city center continued to perform well, with sales at the Shinjuku flagship of Isetan up 18.7 percent, and those of the Mitsukoshi store in Ginza up 17.3 percent.
Takashimaya reported sales growth of 4.7 percent in June at its 17 department stores across Japan. Its store in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood enjoyed a rise of 14.5 percent year on year. Only three stores saw their sales decline, with the biggest loss coming from the Tachikawa store in western Tokyo, where June sales were down 26.7 percent.
“Despite negative effects of the earthquake that struck the Osaka area on the 18th, sales of big-ticket items and tax-free sales remained strong,” the company said. It added that a seasonal clearance sale that started one day earlier than last year also helped to boost its numbers.
H2O Retailing said same-store sales at its Hankyu and Hanshin department stores increased by 5.8 percent on the year in June. Its two flagship stores in Osaka’s Umeda district both performed well, with sales at the Hankyu store up 4.1 percent and those of the Hanshin store up 13.5 percent. June marked at least 11 months of consecutive same-store sales growth for the retailer.
J. Front Retailing, which operates the Daimaru and Matsuzakaya chains of department stores, said sales at those 17 stores in Japan gained 4.7 percent on the year last month. The largest growth of an individual store came from the Daimaru store in Osaka’s Shinsaibashi area, where sales were up by 12.3 percent.
“While the earthquake centered in northern Osaka prefecture affected stores in that region, the clearance sale period had one more Saturday than last year, and cosmetics, luxury brand goods, and luxury watches continued to perform well due mainly to continued high demand from international visitors to Japan,” J. Front said.