Japan restaurant sales stay flat in October

Sales at Japan's major restaurant chains were flat in October, even though the state of emergency had ended.

The Japan Foodservice Association says sales edged down by half a percent from the same month last year. From two years ago, prior to the pandemic, they were down 6.1 percent.

It was a different story for fast-food chains. Sales rose 5.4 percent last month on demand for take-away and delivery services.

Business at pubs and izakaya restaurants started coming back gradually. But sales were still down 30.8 percent from last year.

Those at casual-dining establishments were down 6.5 percent. Customer traffic started picking up at lunchtime, but remained quiet in the evenings.

Officials at the Foodservice Association say sales are recovering overall, but rising prices of food and other items needed for the industry are a concern.