Japan’s 2019 convenience store sales rise to record

23-Jan-2020 Intellasia | JapanToday | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Convenience store sales in Japan rose 0.4 percent to a record level last year, as the government’s measures to spur consumer spending helped offset the impact of a consumption tax hike, an industry body said.

Sales on a same-store basis increased for the second straight year to 10.34 trillion yen in 2019, topping 10 trillion yen for the first time since comparable information became available in 2005, the Japan Franchise Association said.

Sales were lifted by the government’s shopping reward point programme for purchases made through cashless payments, which was introduced to mitigate the impact from the consumption tax increase to 10 percent from 8 percent in October, according to the association.

The rebate rates are 5 percent at small and medium-sized stores and 2 percent at major chain stores such as convenience stores. Cooked and frozen food items were among products that contributed to the all-time-high sales.

Still, the outlook for convenience store sales remains uncertain as the current government programme will end in June and major convenience store operators such as Seven-Eleven Japan Co and Lawson Inc are shortening operating hours through such steps as ending 24-hour operations at some outlets due to a labour shortage.

In 2019, average spending per customer on a same-store basis rose 2.1 percent from the previous year to 632.6 yen, while customer visits fell 1.6 percent to 16.35 billion.

The number of stores totalled 55,620 as of the end of 2019, down 0.2 percent from a year earlier, the industrial body said. It was the first fall since the association started compiling data, reflecting convenience store operators’ efforts to curb new store openings to avoid their profitability from being squeezed in the saturated market.

Total sales including those at newly opened stores during the year grew 1.7 percent to 11.16 trillion yen.

In December alone, the same-store sales fell 0.3 percent to 915.57 billion yen, with the monthly number of customers slipping 1.1 percent to 1.39 billion. The average spending per customer rose 0.7 percent to 659.2 yen.



Category: Japan

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