Japan's supermarket sales fall for 17th straight year

Japan's supermarket sales in 2013 fell 0.7 percent from the previous year on a same-store basis, down for the 17th straight year, an industry body said Tuesday.

However, sales before adjustment for the number of stores rose 1.5 percent to 12.72 trillion yen, the Japan Chain Stores Association said.

After the adjustment, overall food sales fell 0.1 percent, although farm and dairy product sales increased. Clothing sales dropped 5.6 percent, affected by unseasonable weather conditions.

In December alone, supermarket sales fell 0.8 percent from a year earlier on a same-store basis. Food sales expanded 0.7 percent, while clothing sales declined 8.7 percent.

Employment by the association's 58 member companies at the end of 2013 totaled 432,296 people, up 4.8 percent from a year earlier.