• Kyodo News

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Supermarket sales fell 2.4 percent in February from a year earlier on a same-store basis, marking the 15th consecutive month of year-on-year decline, an industry body said Tuesday.

Although the margin of year-on-year decline has shrunk since around last fall, consumers continued to buy more affordable items amid the economic downturn, according to the Japan Chain Stores Association.

“Sales are not likely to deteriorate further,” an association official said.

By item, food sales, which account for more than 60 percent of total supermarket sales, declined 2.8 percent, declining for the 13th month in a row.

Clothing sales dropped 2.0 percent, down for the 50th straight month.

Sales of household goods, including daily necessities and consumer electronics, fell 1.9 percent, but own-brand bicycles and flat-screen televisions sold well.

Meanwhile, convenience store sales in February dropped 4.7 percent from a year earlier to ¥525.88 billion on a same-store basis, declining for the ninth consecutive month, the Japan Franchise Association said.

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