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The nation’s combined wholesale and retail sales fell 0.3 percent in January from a year earlier to 42.73 trillion yen, down for the 24th consecutive month, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report released Wednesday.

Retail sales fell 2.2 percent to 10.328 trillion yen, while sales by wholesalers rose 0.3 percent to 32.402 trillion yen, posting the first increase in 24 months, METI said.

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