• Kyodo

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Major retailer Aeon Co. plans to maintain the prices of more than 3,000 items sold under its Topvalu brand after consumption tax is raised in April from 5 percent to 8 percent, company officials said.

But the company will not change the quantities of food and daily-use items sold under the brand in order to adjust for the tax hike, they said, adding that the firm will absorb the tax increase by reducing distribution costs.

The over 3,000 items account for more than half of those sold under the brand.

The move is aimed at forestalling a fall in sales as consumers are expected to become more price-conscious following the tax hike, the officials said.

Aeon has declared that it intends to maintain the prices of Topvalu goods for as long as possible, given that they make up about 20 percent of overall sales at its supermarkets.

Many supermarket operators have yet to say how they will price their own-brand goods after the tax hike, but the move by Aeon — the industry leader — is likely to affect how its rivals and food manufacturers handle the issue.

Hiroshi Yokoo, an Aeon executive vice president, told reporters in Chiba city on Wednesday that prices of such daily necessities as bread, beverages and toilet paper will remain unchanged from April 1, with the full list of products to be released in March.

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