Japan's supermarket sales in 2023 rose 2.4% from the previous year on a same-store basis, increasing for the fourth consecutive year on price hikes for food items and post-pandemic rises in travel and outdoor goods demand, an industry body said Tuesday.

Sales at all supermarkets totaled ¥13.56 trillion ($91.9 billion), with price hikes in food items boosting overall sales despite shoppers buying fewer items, according to the Japan Chain Stores Association.

On a same-store basis, food items, which account for about 70% of sales, climbed 3.1%.

Sales of ready-made dishes rose 4.9% as more people bought such food for leisure activities after the government downgraded the legal status of COVID-19 to the same category as seasonal flu.

Daily necessities and other household goods were up 3.8%, lifted by solid sales of travel gear and outdoor equipment.

Clothing, however, only rose 0.9%. Sales of winter clothing fared well through March, but warmer-than-usual weather in September, October and December dented demand, the association said.

"Consumers appear to be holding back on spending, and consumption is not as strong as the overall figures indicate," an association official said, adding that wage increases that exceeded the price hikes were necessary to see improvement.

Same-store sales for December alone were up 1.7% from a year earlier, increasing for the 10th consecutive month.