Sogo launches end-of-year gift sales drive

Department store operator Sogo Inc. started its end-of-year gift sales campaign Friday.

Sogo, which is undergoing rehabilitation with the help of Seibu Department Stores Ltd., held a ceremony to launch the campaign at its Yokohama outlet before the store opened its doors, with some 100 staff present.

Other retailers also launched or are about to begin their end-of-year gift sales drives.

Supermarket chain operator Daiei Inc., also undergoing rehabilitation, set aside an area to sell yearend gifts Thursday, while Ito-Yokado Co., another supermarket operator, plans to open its gift section this month.

Major department store operator Mitsukoshi Ltd. plans to open its gift section Nov. 1 in the hopes of doing better business than during the summer gift season, which turned out to be sluggish, company officials said.

With the economy in a slump and consumer confidence still sliding, the retail industry is facing a difficult situation.

Nationwide, department store sales on a same-store basis fell in September for the sixth straight month of decline, according to figures released Thursdays.