• Kyodo News


This year’s scorching summer created winners and losers in the business world, with products such as soft drinks and air conditioners among the biggest beneficiaries while autumn clothing remained unsold and there was little demand for fall foods.

Pokka Corp., the Nagoya-based food and drink maker, enjoyed a flood of orders for its Enjoy Summer drink containing more natrium, or sodium, to prevent heatstroke, with the beverage proving especially popular among construction workers.

A worker at an underground construction site in Shibuya Ward, Tokyo, where temperatures rose close to 60 degrees at times, said, “With only normal fluid replacement, we wouldn’t have survived.”

At Sogo & Seibu Co.’s department stores, gel-lined bedclothes and highly absorbent materials designed to make sleepers feel cooler sold 1.5 times better than a year earlier. Shipments of Kobayashi Pharmaceutical Co.’s poultice-like sheets to draw heat from a sleeper’s forehead nearly tripled in July.

It appears the hot weather also made people reluctant to cook at home. Restaurant sales rose 2.5 percent in July, marking the first rise in six months, and the situation remained roughly unchanged in August.

Meanwhile, autumn clothing retailers fell victim to the hot, drawn-out summer. An official at the Nagoya outlet of Matsuzakaya Department Stores Co. said, “We have never seen a situation where autumn clothing sold as little as this.”

“Matsutake” mushrooms, one of the tastes of autumn in Japan, have also been hit hard. Observers say this year’s poor crop is due to the scorching heat and reckon the harvest could fall below the previous year’s record-low 24 tons.

At Tokyo’s Tsukiji market, matsutake prices in September nearly doubled from a year earlier.

Last Wednesday, 400 grams of matsutake mushrooms from Iwate Prefecture fetched ¥220,000 at an auction, a price one auction worker said he had never seen before.

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