TOKYO – Japan’s supermarket sales in November decreased 1.4 percent from a year earlier on a same-store basis, down for the second straight month, continuing to be affected by a consumption tax increase on Oct 1, the Japan Chain Stores Association said Tuesday.

According to the association’s figures, sales at 10,538 supermarkets operated by 55 companies totaled 996.8 billion yen (9.1 billion US dollars).

The industry body’s figures also showed that sales of food items, which were generally exempted from the 2-percentage-point tax hike from 8 percent, dipped 0.2 percent, with demand for alcohol subject to a 10-percent tax not recovering after being pushed up in September on last-minute demand.

Meanwhile, clothing sales dropped 7.9 percent as warm weather discouraged demand for winter clothing. Household items fell 3.2 percent with weak demand for blankets and electric appliances.

“Spending remains weak due partly to the consumption tax hike. We expect a positive outcome from the shopping season during the New Year holidays,” an association official said.

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