Business

Japan's convenience store sales post first decline in five months

Kyodo

Sales at convenience stores fell in October for the first time in five months, down 1.5 percent from a year earlier due to declining demand for tobacco products after a tax increase, an industry body said Tuesday.

Same-store sales for seven major convenience store operators, including Seven-Eleven Japan Co. and Lawson Inc., totaled ¥819.36 billion in October, down from ¥831.86 billion in the same month last year, according to the Japan Franchise Association.

The sales decline followed a rush of cigarette buying prior to the October tax hike of ¥1 per cigarette.

The number of customers rose 0.5 percent amid solid sales of ready-made meals such as frozen food, while average spending per customer fell 2.0 percent, the association said.

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