Department store sales up 19% in April

Reuters file photo
Women walk in a shopping district in Tokyo in February.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Department store sales in Japan in April rose 19% from a year earlier on a same-store basis thanks to a recovery in customer traffic as the government fully lifted its COVID-19 pre-emergency measures in late March, industry data showed Tuesday.

Overall sales at 190 stores across the country came to ¥377.8 billion, the Japan Department Stores Association said. Same-store sales grew for the second straight month.

Sales of clothing surged more than 20% due to robust demand for spring and summer items amid higher temperatures. Sales of suits were also brisk as schools and companies held entrance ceremonies once again after refraining to do so amid the pandemic.

Jewelry sales remained solid, and food sales increased, led by confectioneries for gifts.

There was a massive number of customers at department stores during the Golden Week holiday period from late April to early May, when there were no movement restrictions linked to COVID-19 in place, a senior association official said.

Since the beginning of May, sales at major department stores have been much higher than the year-before level.

Separately, the Japan Chain Stores Association said supermarket sales across the country in April increased 2.1% on a same-store basis. Total sales came to ¥1,068.7 billion.

Demand for clothing and leisure goods was strong, while food sales dropped for the first time in 12 months as people started eating out again.