Only months away from the planned consumption tax hike this spring, throngs of shoppers took advantage of the first sales of the new year at department stores throughout the nation on Jan. 2.
In front of the Matsuya Ginza department store in Tokyo's Chuo Ward, about 6,000 customers--the same number as last year--lined up before the shop opened.
New Year's "lucky bags," filled with spring and summer items such as short-sleeved dress shirts and polo shirts, were especially popular among shoppers who hope to purchase as much as possible before the consumption tax rate rises from the current 5 percent to 8 percent in April.
Cashmere and leather coats, as well as other pricey clothing, also sold well, according to Matsuya Ginza officials.
At the Seibu Ikebukuro main store in Tokyo's Toshima Ward, which was open for business on New Year's Day, sales per person were up 10 percent from the previous year, store officials said.
Even high-end items, including lucky bags priced at more than 1 million yen ($9,580), sold well.
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