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Convenience store sales in February rose 2.0 percent from a year earlier to ¥536.25 billion on a same-store basis, up for the 10th consecutive month, the Japan Franchise Association said Monday.

Sales were again boosted by people buying cigarettes at convenience stores, which has helped lift sales over the past several months, the association said.

Taspo smart cards, designed to prevent minors from buying cigarettes at vending machines, were introduced last July, but many smokers have not applied for them and are instead buying cigarettes at convenience stores.

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