• Kyodo News

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Supermarket sales slid 1.7 percent on a same-store basis in fiscal 2008, stretching the decline to a 12th consecutive year as consumer confidence waned amid the global economic turmoil, an industry body said Wednesday.

Sales for the year that ended in March fell to ¥13.17 trillion from a year ago, said the Japan Chain Stores Association. Clothing and household product sales weakened while food sold well.

Food sales edged up 0.5 percent thanks to discounts, a craze over bananas as a diet food and a summer heat wave that boosted purchases of ice cream and beverages.

Clothing sales sank 9.0 percent due to unseasonable weather and belt-tightening by consumers, whose disposable income was crimped by the recession.

In March alone, sales at supermarkets marked their fourth consecutive fall by tumbling 4 percent year on year on a same-store basis. Sales totaled ¥1.05 trillion.

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