Falling sales at advertising agencies in April began to show signs of bottoming out, while the fading effects of a popular animation film led to a downturn for cinema operators, a survey of the nation’s service industries showed Monday.

Advertisement sales lost 5.6 percent from a year earlier for the ninth-straight monthly drop, but the margin of decline shrank from March’s 8.8 percent, indicating business in the sector has begun to improve, an official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said.

Cinema operators, meanwhile, suffered a 6.3 percent drop in sales, the first since May 2001. The industry at that time enjoyed a boost from the success of “Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi” (“Spirited Away”), directed by Hayao Miyazaki.

This left only two of the 12 service industries for individuals covered by the METI monthly survey in positive territory amid continued lethargy in consumption.

Sales for amusement and theme park operators soared 42.8 percent in the reporting month, while those for pachinko pinball hall operators gained 3.3 percent. Park operators have enjoyed a string of monthly increases since the September launch of Tokyo Disney Sea by Oriental Land Co.

Business service industries other than ad agencies continued to track a declining trend, with the value of contracts at leasing companies down 4.9 percent, rental firms’ sales down 7.1 percent, and the value of orders to engineering firms plummeting 26 percent.

The World Cup soccer finals, which kicked off May 31, buoyed leasing firm’s contracts for commercial and service business machinery and equipment by 2.9 percent, but failed to have an overall effect. The event is being cohosted by Japan and South Korea.

The increase in billing by credit card companies remained small at 3.2 percent, and the rise in sales by information service providers shrank to 3.9 percent from 5.6 percent in March, METI said.

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