Sales at Japanese supermarkets and department stores posted a year-on-year decline in May and have now fallen for 42 months in a row, according to industry data released Monday.

The Japan Chain Stores Association said nationwide supermarket sales in May totaled 1.19 trillion yen, down 0.8 percent from a year earlier on a same-store basis.

The Japan Department Stores Association said nationwide department store sales totaled 652.65 billion yen, down 2.1 percent on a same-store basis.

The decline in supermarket sales was attributed to sluggish sales of summer goods, with below-average temperatures recorded in the latter half of the reporting month.

A further deterioration in unit prices also helped undermine overall sales in value terms.

Clothing sales dropped 5.6 percent, despite strong demand for women’s clothes ahead of Mother’s Day, which fell during the month. Food sales rose 1.5 percent, however, boosted by a recovery in vegetable prices and robust demand for pork and chicken products.

The department store association attributed poor department store results primarily to sluggish sales of clothing amid bad weather. Demand from corporate customers also remained weak, contributing to the decline, it said.

Sales of clothing fell 3.8 percent, while food sales rose 0.3 percent, up for the first time in six months.

Sales of furniture also declined 22.2 percent, while those of electrical appliances fell 7.9 percent, the association said.

Sales of personal goods, including accessories, rose 2 percent, logging a 19th straight month of improvement, it said.

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