Japanese consumers still in frugal mood

24 March 2010

TOKYO: Supermarket sales are continuing to decline in Japan, as shoppers rein in their expenditure and focus on securing the best deals.

According to figures from the Japan Chain Stores Association, the industry body, supermarket revenues fell by 2.4% year-on-year in February to ¥933.3 billion ($10.3bn; €7.6bn; £6.9bn).

These totals covered 68 chains and some 8,201 stores that have been open for at least a year, and followed on from the drop of 4.9% recorded in the opening month of 2010.

Within this, household-related products, including grocery goods, delivered a contraction of 2.9%, while apparel sales also decreased by 2% on an annual basis.

Consumer confidence did improve in February for the second month in succession, according to the most recent barometer of popular sentiment released by the country's Cabinet Office.

Its index climbed to 39.8 points in this period from 39.0 points in January, although any score below 50 points indicates that the number of negative responses outweighed positive perceptions.

McKinsey, the consultancy, also recently issued a report which argued that purchase behaviour in Japan has undergone a profound transformation since the onset of the financial crisis.

Data sourced from MNI; additional content by Warc staff