Restaurant sales in Japan up 3.4% year-over-year in January, up for third consecutive month as customer traffic rises for the first time in seven months at 0.7%, industry group says

TOKYO , February 26, 2014 () – Restaurant sales in Japan in January rose 3.4 pct from a year before, up for the third consecutive month, an industry group said Tuesday.

The rise came after the number of customers grew 0.7 pct, the first rise in seven months, helped by relatively fine weather, the Japan Food Service Association said.

Sales at fast-food restaurants increased 3.2 pct.

Sales at Western fast-food chains went up for the first time in seven months as new high-priced hamburgers at McDonald's Holdings Co. (Japan) sold well. Seasonal menu items pushed up sales at Japanese food chains.

Sales at family restaurants rose 4.4 pct, led by brisk sales at Japanese-style and grilled beef restaurants. Sales at coffee shops were up 2.1 pct due to the launch of new menu items.

However, sales at pubs and "izakaya" bars continued to post year- on-year losses, down 0.8 pct.

An association official said restaurant sales in February are expected to decline because of heavy snowfall in Tokyo and surrounding areas.END

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