Convenience store sales rise 0.9%, spurred by coffee, ‘bento’ dishes

Kyodo, JIJI

Sales from convenience stores increased 0.9 percent in 2015 from the previous year on a same-store basis to around ¥9.3 9.3 trillion, an industry body said Wednesday.

Including figures from new stores, the sales of 10 major chains climbed 4.7 percent to around ¥10.2 trillion, surpassing the ¥10 trillion mark for the first time since comparable data became available in 1999, according to data released by the Japan Franchise Association.

“Regarding convenience stores, consumer sentiment is on a recovery trend,” a JFA official said.

Per-customer sales grew 0.7 percent to ¥601.2 billion, due also to robust demand for takeout fresh-brewed coffee and desserts. The total number of customer visits increased 0.2 percent to 15.46 billion.

The rise also reflects brisk sales of bento (boxed meals) and prepared foods on the back of an increase in the number of single-person households and progress in workforce participation by women, according to the organization.

In December, the combined sales of nine major chains rose 1.4 percent to ¥826.67 billion on a same-store basis, up for the ninth consecutive month. The trend was supported by strong sales of freshly brewed coffee, takeout foods and year-end goods, according to the association.

The number of major chains for the survey was reduced from 10 to nine in December due to the merger of FamilyMart Co. and Cocostore Corp.