• Kyodo

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Emporium sales in fiscal 2013 rose 0.8 percent from the previous year on a same-store basis to post the first increase in 17 years, an industry body said Monday.

The Japan Chain Stores Association attributed the increase to food price hikes, the recovery in consumption under the government’s economic stimulus programs, and the surge in purchases before the April consumption tax hike.

Before adjustment for number of stores, so-called supermarket sales for the year jumped 3.9 percent from the previous year to ¥12.95 trillion.

While clothing sales dropped due to unseasonal weather, food and other products sold well, the association said.

In March alone, store sales scored a sharp year-on-year rise of 9.4 percent on a same-store basis as consumers accelerated purchases before the April 1 tax hike. Sales in the month hit ¥1.18 trillion for 9,151 stores of 59 companies.

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