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Japan's Jan. convenience store sales rise 7%, up for 9th month+
[February 20, 2009]

Japan's Jan. convenience store sales rise 7%, up for 9th month+

(Japan Economic Newswire Via Acquire Media NewsEdge) TOKYO, Feb. 20_(Kyodo) _ Japan's convenience stores sales in January rose 7 percent from a year earlier to 581.43 billion yen on a same-store basis, up for the ninth consecutive month, an industry group said Friday.

The brisk sales largely stem from increases in the number of visitors to convenience stores since the nationwide introduction last July of Taspo smart cards, which are designed to prevent minors from buying cigarettes at vending machines, the Japan Franchise Association said.

Many smokers have opted to buy cigarettes at convenience stores to avoid the inconvenience of having to use a Taspo age-identification card at vending machines.

The number of visitors to convenience stores stood at 975.68 million, up 7.6 percent from a year earlier. Average spending per customer, however, dropped for the second straight month to 595.9 yen, down 0.5 percent from the year before.

Relatively warm weather in northern and eastern Japan boosted sales of ice cream and soft drinks among other products that sold well in the reporting month.

The survey covered outlets operated by 11 major convenience store companies that belong to the association.

Copyright ? 2009 Kyodo News International, Inc.

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