Retail sales still declining; September logged a 3% dip

Retail sales logged a year-on-year fall of 3 percent in September, marking an 18th straight month of decline, according to a preliminary report released Monday by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Retail sales in the month dropped to 10.35 trillion yen, having recorded a 2 percent decline in August.

Five out of the seven retailing sectors monitored by the ministry suffered year-on-year falls, with sales among retailers of electronic products such as personal computers shedding 9.9 percent.

Only the automobile and fuel sectors were unscathed by the overall consumption slump, with auto dealers selling 0.5 percent more than the year before, the ministry said.

Sales at wholesalers, which account for 80 percent of the nation’s overall commercial sales, dropped 4 percent to 40.63 trillion yen, pushing combined sales by retailers and wholesalers down 3.8 percent to 50.98 trillion yen.

As a result, both wholesale and overall commercial sales logged a 20th straight month of decline.

Convenience store sales dropped 2.2 percent on a same-store basis, marking a 26th consecutive month of decline. But sales rose by 1.8 percent on an unadjusted basis to 579.1 billion yen, marking a second straight increase.

The latter figure takes sales at newly opened convenience stores into account.

Sales at large retailers, including supermarkets and department stores, fell 0.7 percent on a same-store basis.

Supermarket sales fell 0.6 percent, while department store sales, which were hit by relatively high September temperatures that dented sales of autumn clothes, were down 0.9 percent, METI said.

On an unadjusted basis, combined sales by large retailers rose 0.2 percent to 1.66 trillion yen.

Supermarket sales rose an unadjusted 1.3 percent to 966 billion yen, while those at department stores dropped 1.2 percent to 691.5 billion yen.