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The combined sales of retailers and wholesalers in 2002 were off 14.2 percent from 1999, coming in at 548.58 trillion yen, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said in a preliminary report released Wednesday.

Sales by wholesalers slipped 16.5 percent to 413.46 trillion yen, marking the third straight decline since 1993, according to the survey, which is conducted every three years.

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