Cool, soggy summer curtails leisure-based profits in Tokyo

Cool, soggy summer curtails leisure-based profits in Tokyo

Persistent rain and low temperatures are putting a damper on summer business at Tokyo’s leisure facilities and retailers as expectations for a hot summer rapidly shrink.

Many water parks and beer garden businesses in the capital are struggling with low attendance, and rumors are beginning to circulate about crop damage.

Visitors to the pools at Toshimaen, an amusement park in Nerima Ward, dropped by about 30 percent from a year ago to 31,500 between Friday and Tuesday during the Bon holidays, the peak time for such establishments.

Tokyo Summerland in Akiruno, western Tokyo, logged a 29 percent fall in pool visitors on year between Aug. 1 and Tuesday.

The Matsuya Ginza department store in Chuo Ward opened a covered beer garden on its rooftop terrace this year, but sales have only reached at about 70 percent of the store’s target for this month.

Elsewhere, people have started to voice concerns about the lack of sunshine and the impact it could have on agriculture.

The most recent wholesale prices for eggplants, tomatoes and bell peppers at the Tokyo Metropolitan Central Wholesale Market are about 20 percent to 30 percent higher than normal at this time of year.

“I’m not sure how much impact the continuing rain will have on crops, but shipment volume may decline and prices may increase,” an agriculture ministry official said.

A supermarket chain based in the Tokyo metropolitan area said sales have fallen 7 percent for ice cream and 10 percent to 20 percent for cold noodles in the first half of August.

“I’m worried about a possible increase in vegetable prices in the second half of the month,” an official from the chain said.

But the cool weather is boosting demand for other products.

Electronics chain Bic Camera Inc. is selling 50 percent more dehumidifiers and 30 percent more futon dryers this month compared with the previous year.

Supermarket operators Ito-Yokado Co. and Aeon Retail Co. are meanwhile enjoying strong early sales of autumn clothing, while major convenience stores are seeing stronger sales of hot coffee.