• Kyodo

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Supermarket sales in Japan rose 3.4 percent in June from a year earlier, up for the second straight month, on robust food sales as many people continued to refrain from dining out amid the coronavirus pandemic, an industry body said Wednesday.

Sales of food climbed 3.4 percent on a same-store basis. Those of furniture and electric appliances also helped the rise in overall sales, up 22.3 percent and 10.7 percent respectively, as items and equipment necessary for teleworking were bought, the Japan Chain Stores Association said.

Sales of clothing fell 4.1 percent, meanwhile, apparently reflecting the trend in which people are spending more time at home even after the government fully lifted a state of emergency in late May.

"Consumers have recently tended to stock up on food items and go to stores less often amid rising coronavirus infections," said a spokesman for the association. "It is too early to say sales have already hit bottom."

On an all-store basis, sales at 10,806 supermarket stores run by 56 companies totaled ¥1.09 trillion ($10.2 billion) last month, according to the association.

For the first half of 2020, same-store sales grew 0.4 percent from a year earlier on brisk food sales, it said.

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