Sales at department stores dropped 2.5 percent in February from a year before for the fifth straight month of decline, an industry group said Monday.

Sales came to 585.1 billion yen in the reporting month, the Japan Department Stores Association said.

Sales were relatively buoyant in the first half of February due to clearance sales, as well as entertainment and other events organized to woo shoppers, the association said.

But sales later took a beating from the shrinkage in demand from corporate clients. The figures were low also in contrast to the strong sales the previous February, it said.

Sales at stores in Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nagoya and Yokohama, accounting for roughly half the total for Japan, fell 3 percent, while those in other cities fell 1.8 percent.

The nationwide figures cover 297 outlets run by 123 operators. Changes from the year-earlier levels are adjusted according to the number and size of outlets.

Slump hits 27 month

Sales at supermarkets fell 6.2 percent in February from a year before to 1.178 trillion yen, down for the 27th-straight month, the Japan Chain Stores Association said Monday.

The supermarket data covered 7,174 outlets run by the association’s 111 members.

Food sales, accounting for more than 50 percent of supermarket sales, fell 4.7 percent to 658.45 billion yen. Clothing sales declined by 8.7 percent to 175.15 billion yen.

Revenues from services such as travel-related businesses and ticket sales, which account for 0.9 percent of overall sales, fell 1.3 percent to 10.37 billion yen.

The comparisons with year-earlier figures were made after adjustments for changes in the number of stores.

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