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Sales at supermarkets and department stores continued to fall in July, according to industry data released Monday.

Industry groups primarily attributed the slide to anemic personal consumption and the unusually cool summer.

The Japan Chain Stores Association said supermarket sales fell 5 percent on a same-store basis in July to 1.228 trillion yen, marking the 13th consecutive year-on-year decline.

Meanwhile, the Japan Department Stores Association said sales at department stores fell 2.3 percent on a same-store basis in July to 775.1 billion yen for the 16th straight month of decline.

Supermarket sales remained stagnant, with personal consumption having been undermined by the long rainy spell in July and by smaller summer bonuses, the chain stores association said.

Food sales, which accounted for 56.3 percent of overall supermarket sales, fell 1.4 percent to 691.7 billion yen, down for the third straight month. This was partly due to a decline in perishable food sales.

In a preliminary report covering 102 supermarket operators that run 8,867 outlets nationwide, the association said that clothing sales, which made up 13.7 percent of the total, dived 9.2 percent to 168.45 billion yen. It attributed this slump to the unusually cool summer weather.

Sales of household products — including daily commodities, medical and cosmetic goods, furniture and electrical appliances — fell 8.3 percent to 265.73 billion yen. Sales of household products accounted for 21.6 percent of the total.

Meanwhile, the department stores association said sales took a beating from the bad weather, which ate into purchases of seasonal clothes. Weak demand among corporate customers was another contributing factor.

Sales fell from the previous year in virtually all product categories, with accessories and other personal goods the exception.

Sales of household goods — such as furniture, electrical appliances and other items — skidded 10.3 percent.

But department stores managed to limit the slump in clothing to 0.7 percent by conducting bargain sales campaigns. Still, sales deteriorated for the fifth straight month.

Food sales fell 4.2 percent, down for the fourth month in a row. Sales of personal goods such as accessories rose 2.3 percent.

Appliance sales down

Sales at major retailers of electric home appliances fell 11.3 percent in July from a year earlier to 203.53 billion yen, reflecting poor demand for air conditioners amid the cool summer, the Nippon Electric Big-Stores Association said Monday.

The drop in July sales was the 11th straight monthly fall and the first double-digit percentage decline in 12 months, it said.

Sales of air conditioners tumbled 44.4 percent, marking the biggest fall among electric appliances and accounting for 10.56 percent of total sales. It was the sharpest fall for July since 1986.

Sales of electric fans plunged 47.9 percent.

The drop in sales of air conditioners was the biggest since March 2002, when they plunged 49.28 percent as a surge in demand related to the introduction of a new recycling law had run its course.

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