The Japan Department Stores Association says sales at 191 outlets nationwide dropped 11.7% in August from a year earlier. They were down more than 32% compared to the same month in 2019, prior to the pandemic. Sales declined for all major items, including food and clothing. Amid a surge in infections, entry to floors selling foodstuffs was restricted to ease overcrowding. JDSA say conditions remain tough in September, as the state of emergency continues. They hope that progress in vaccinations will gradually restore normal social and economic activity.