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Sales at supermarkets and department stores in the first six months of 2004 fell from the same period last year on a same-store basis, according to industry data released Monday.

Supermarket sales dropped 2.9 percent to 7.02 trillion yen, the Japan Chain Stores Association said in a report covering 8,265 stores operated by 97 chains.

Sales at department stores slid 2.0 percent to 3.80 trillion yen, the Japan Department Stores Association said in a report covering 287 outlets run by 99 operators.

The chain stores association blamed the decline on the introduction April 1 of a regulation requiring retailers to attach price tags reflecting the 5 percent consumption tax, saying it gave consumers the impression that there had been a price hike.

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