Sales of household electrical appliances at major retailers slipped 1.87 percent in 2004 from the previous year to 1.98 trillion yen, according to preliminary data released Tuesday.

The Nippon Electric Big-Stores Association said the preliminary data for the January-December period indicate a fourth straight yearly fall.

For December alone, retailer sales of such goods inched down 0.28 percent from a year earlier to 231.47 billion yen, marking the fifth consecutive monthly year-on-year drop.

The December sales dipped as declines in major items, including personal computers, refrigerators, washers and air conditioners, outweighed double-digit growth in sales of TV sets and DVD players and recorders, the association said.

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