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Sales at domestic supermarkets dropped 5.7 percent in August from a year earlier to 1.336 trillion yen, the 21st consecutive month of decline, an industry association said Tuesday.

Continued consumer restraint coupled with high temperatures that hindered sales of autumn clothing contributed to the decline, the Japan Chain Stores Association said.

The figures cover 7,106 outlets run by the association’s 114 member supermarket operators.

Clothing sales suffered an 11.6 percent decline to 189.93 billion yen, while food sales dropped 3.9 percent to 740.5 billion yen.

An official of the association said Japanese consumers are still keeping their purse strings tight amid continued job and income uncertainties.

“Consumer spending has yet to pick up from the bottom,” the official said.

Sales of daily commodities such as medicine, cosmetics, furniture and electric appliances fell 6.8 percent to 273.23 billion yen.

Revenue from services, however, rose 14.4 percent to 124.05 billion yen, it said.

Department sales down

Sales at domestic department stores dropped 3.8 percent in August from a year earlier to 579.9 billion yen, down for the sixth straight month, an industry group said Tuesday.

Association officials blamed the decline on poor sales of autumn clothes, which took a beating from the high temperatures in the latter half of August.

However, the year-on-year drop was smaller than July’s 4.5 percent fall, thanks to a boost from summer clearance sales, the Japan Department Stores Association said in a report.

Clothing sales dropped 5.7 percent, compared with a 5.3 percent decline in July.

Sales of other personal items decreased 2 percent, an improvement from the 3.2 percent fall the previous month.

The report tallies sales at 306 outlets run by 134 domestic department stores.

The high-profile solvency problems of Sogo Co., which filed for court-mandated corporate rehabilitation in July, continued to keep shoppers away from the large retailer, further depressing total sales, the officials said.

Another major deterrent to sales was the massive outbreak of food poisoning caused by Snow Brand Milk Products Co., they said.

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