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Department store sales in Japan plummeted 71.5 percent from a year earlier in April as many stores were shut amid the government-declared COVID-19 state of emergency, the industry ministry said Friday.

The drop was the largest since comparable records began in January 1980.

On the other hand, sales at supermarkets grew 3.6 percent, reflecting a rise in demand for food and drinks from those staying home to avoid coronavirus infection.

Meanwhile, major electronics retailers saw a 23.5 percent spike in sales of information appliances, as customers purchased devices to use for teleworking.

The state of emergency began in Tokyo and some other prefectures April 7 and was expanded to cover the entire country April 16. It was fully lifted Monday.

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