Convenience store sales in May fell 10 percent from a year earlier, marking a third month of decline, affected by stay-at-home requests issued across Japan following the emergence of the coronavirus, an industry body said Monday.
But the difficult business environment appears to have not worsened from April when sales at convenience stores logged the sharpest monthly decline.
In May, the same-outlet sales at the seven major convenience store operators totaled ¥809.58 billion ($7.57 billion), the Japan Franchise Association said.
Despite the number of customers dropping 19.9 percent from a year earlier to 1.16 billion, the data showed average spending per person per visit jumped 12.4 percent to ¥699.7.
The increase was attributable to solid sales of fresh and frozen food products as well as alcoholic beverages as consumers stocked up during the epidemic, the body said.
But sales in the service category, including theater and concert ticket sales, remained sluggish, down 18.7 percent from the same month last year as the spread of the pneumonia-causing virus has forced the cancellation of events.
According to the association, sales have gradually picked up in business and commercial districts in large cities after the government lifted a nationwide state of emergency in May.
“Providing there is no additional wave of infections, we probably have already seen the worst,” a spokeswoman at the body said.
In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.
Your news needs your support
Since the early stages of the COVID-19 crisis, The Japan Times has been providing free access to crucial news on the impact of the novel coronavirus as well as practical information about how to cope with the pandemic. Please consider subscribing today so we can continue offering you up-to-date, in-depth news about Japan.