Sales of goods picking up as COVID-19 threats diminish

Jiji Press
A customer tries lipstick at the Matsuya Co. department store in Chuo Ward, Tokyo, on June 8.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — Sales of goods targeting people going out this summer are starting to pick up in Japan as the threat of COVID-19 continues to diminish.

Formal jackets, bright lipsticks and other items that have not sold well during the past two years of restrictions on dining out are becoming popular.

Department store operator Matsuya Co. saw cosmetics sales jump by about 50% in May from a year before, led by strong demand for lipsticks, eye shadow and other goods that add color.

Customers “are buying mainly for dining out with friends,” a Matsuya official said. Lip gloss products and other goods that did not sell well during the worst of the pandemic are again selling well, according to the company.

Sogo & Seibu Co., another department store operator, is enjoying brisk sales of summer jackets and suits for both men and women, as more workers are returning to the office.

Beer makers are increasing production for shipments to restaurants and bars, expecting demand to balloon for eating out among friends and colleagues as rooftop beer gardens reopen across the country this summer.

“The number of people who enjoy drinking is likely to grow ahead of price hikes this autumn,” an official at a major beer maker said.

In June, Sapporo Breweries Ltd. will more than double its output from a year before.

Production is expected to grow by about 80% at Suntory Beer Ltd., about 70% at Asahi Breweries Ltd. and about 50% at Kirin Brewery Co.

Kirin will also increase output of its Salty Lychee soft drink, designed to ward off heatstroke, by some 30%.

At drugstore chain Welcia Holdings Co., sales of motion sickness drugs have soared 86% since late May from a year before and sunscreen sales have jumped 56%. The strong results “reflect a growing momentum to go out,” a company official said.

Shipments by Chuo Bussan International Co. of Deonatulle deodorant products, mainly for men, are also growing as temperatures rise.