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Retailers in Japan Struggle to Meet Last Year’s Sales Levels

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Retailers in Japan Struggle to Meet Last Year’s Sales Levels

TOKYO — Sales among major retailers in Japan fell slightly in January, as cold weather throughout the month helped to move winter items out shop doors, but uncertainty surrounding the stock market led to cautious consumer spending. A slowdown in sales to visitors from outside of Japan also dampened the month’s results.
Fast Retailing said Monday that January same-store sales from its Uniqlo locations in Japan were down 1 percent on the year. Customer numbers fell by 0.9 percent, while the average purchase per customer decreased by just 0.1 percent.
“Same-store sales held steady year-on-year in January, thanks to buoyant sales of winter items,” the company said in a release.
After zero openings and five closures last month, Fast Retailing now operates a total of 783 Uniqlo stores in its home market.
Isetan Mitsukoshi, the country’s largest department store operator, said that same-store sales from its seven locations in the Tokyo metropolitan area slipped by 3.8 percent last month. It marked the second consecutive month of declines for the retailer.
For Takashimaya’s 17 department stores across Japan, January sales were down by 2.6 percent year-on-year. While all but three individual stores were unable to meet last year’s levels, only two stores saw double-digit contractions.
“Despite sales

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