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Supermarket sales register first rebound in 13 months

Kyodo, JIJI

Japan’s supermarket sales marked the first year-on-year rise in 13 months in March on a same-store basis, backed partly by spirited closing sales, an industry body said Monday.

Total sales at 7,947 stores operated by 57 supermarket chains stood at ¥1,044.65 billion, the Japan Chain Stores Association said. Clothing sales, which accounted for 10.5 percent of overall sales, increased 7.1 percent, while food sales, which made up 61.8 percent of the total, sagged 0.3 percent, the association said.

It traced the overall sales increase to robust sales of spring clothing amid warm temperatures as well as good sales of merchandise to tackle hay fever.

Meanwhile, the Japan Franchise Association said on Monday that sales at convenience stores in Japan in March fell 0.4 percent from a year earlier to ¥700.3 billion on a same-store basis, down for the 10th straight month.

The drop partly resulted from sluggish tobacco sales, the industry group said.