Sales at Tokyo department stores fell 1.1 percent in July from a year earlier to 182.53 billion yen, marking the fifth straight monthly decline, the Japan Department Stores Association said Friday.

The association attributed the decline to a decrease in the number of customers from the middle of the reporting month due partly to the unusually hot summer.

But the decline was much smaller than the 6.1 percent plunge in June, helped by strong sales of some seasonable items in clearance sales and large-lot demand from corporate customers, the association said.

Sales of clothing, the largest commodity sector, fell 3.9 percent to 64.56 billion yen. Sales of food, the second-largest, dropped 5.1 percent to 48.94 billion yen.

Sundry goods, including cosmetics and stationery, rose 4.9 percent to 26.32 billion yen, it said.

Sales of personal goods, including shoes and bags, gained 2.9 percent to 21.91 billion yen due to sales campaigns and positive consumer reaction to the remodeling of sales floors.

Sales of household goods, including furniture and home electrical appliances, climbed 7.7 percent to 11.22 billion yen, posting the first year-on-year gain in 39 months due to a recovery in demand from corporate customers.

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