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Poor sales of men's suits & jackets in Oct

Jan '07
In contrast to the positive news in our last report, data has shown retail sales in Japan decelerated sharply in October 2006. The warmer winter found Japanese apparel retailers already relatively pessimistic in regards to the outlook for the autumn/winter season, although there was early strong demand for men's and women's coats.

According to Japan's Department Store Association, clothing sales at member stores across Japan dropped moderately in October year-on-year, clearly contrasting with September's results when sales reported their first year-on-year gain in 6 months. The association attributed the slump in October to the warmer temperatures, which negatively affected autumn/winter clothing demand.

Other than the early active demand for coats as consumers reacted to the shortage at retail last winter and to the low late-September temperatures, demand for other winter clothing was been fairly subdued.

Poor sales of men's suits and jackets saw the aggregate volume of men's wear sales dip year-on-year in October and aggregate women's wear sales also noted a slow down. Notably in Tokyo, thanks to the positive demand for coats, total men's clothing sales were above the level reported for the same month in 2005, up for the fourth consecutive month since July. Wool coats, both woollen (animal-hair blends) and lighter-weight worsted types are preforming particularly well compared with other fibre coats.

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