Main contents start here
CHAPTER 14 WHOLESALE AND RETAIL TRADE
This chapter contains statistics on wholesale and retail trade. Data are derived from "Economic Census for Business Activity" (see "7 Business Activities") by the Statistical Survey Department, Statistics Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications and the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, "Census of Commerce" and "Current Survey of Commerce", both conducted by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. For foreign trade, "6 Foreign Trade, Balance of Payments and International Cooperation".
Census of Commerce (Fundamental Statistical Survey)
The Census of Commerce was first conducted in 1952 to clarify the actual situation of the commerce industry in Japan. Then, the census had been taken every two years until 1976, and every three years from 1979. From 1997, the census cycle was changed to be every five years with a simplified inter-censal survey after the quinquennial census year. The 2004 simplified Census was conducted jointly with the Establishment and Enterprise Census and the Survey on Service Industries in order to minimise response burden and maximise cost-effectiveness. In 2009, the simplified inter-censal survey was abolished.
The census covers publicly-managed and privately-managed establishments belonging to Major Group J of the Japan Standard Industrial Classification (Rev. 11), namely Wholesale and Retail Trade. The census is conducted through two channels. The one is through prefectures; shi (cities), ku (wards), machi (towns) and mura (villages), and enumerators, who visit establishments and ask to fill out the questionnaires. The other is more direct channel, where questionnaires are filled out at the head office of the enterprise for all the subordinate establishments and submitted to the prefectures or to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry. Establishments in the premises of non-commercial companies, public offices, schools or factories, establishments without store but engaged in door-to-door sales, mail-order sales, catalogue sales, etc., and establishments in the premises of fee-charging facilities (parks, amusement parks, stations and toll roads) are also covered. However, establishments in the premises of other fee-charging facilities, such as theatres and stadiums, are excluded in principle.
Employees comprise working proprietors, unpaid family workers, paid executives and regular employees, who are mostly engaged in the business of the establishments at the time of the census.
- Regular employees
Regular employees refer to those who are called "regular staff", "part-timer", or "temporary employee" and employed <1> without fixed term, or <2> with fixed term of one month or more, or <3> employed at the time of the survey and also for 18 days or more in each of the preceding two months.
Annual sales of goods
Annual sales refer to the total sales from 1 April of the previous year to 31 March of the survey year. Starting in 1989, the consumption tax is included in the annual total value of sales. Sales of wholesale trade represent the gross total of sales volumes at each stage of wholesale trade. When the transfer of goods is made between the head and branch offices, the value of transfer from the head office to the branch office is included in the total of sales.
Value of goods in stock
Value of goods in stock refers to the value of all the goods held for sale as of 31 March of the survey year. In principle, they are evaluated at cost prices.
Self-service stores refer to retail establishments adopting the self-service method for 50 percent or more of the sales floor space. The self-service method is a system in which customers select articles with pricing, and pay for them altogether at cash counters placed at the exit of the sales floor.
Current Survey of Commerce (Fundamental Statistical Survey)
The survey was started in 1953 by the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry with the aim to clarify the trend of sales by wholesale and retail establishments and enterprises. At the beginning, the survey was conducted quarterly, but in October 1959, it was reorganised to a monthly survey. As regards department stores, a separate survey of "Department Store Sales Statistics" had been compiled, but with the revision made in 1978, it was integrated into the "Current Survey of Commerce".
The survey covers wholesale trade and retail trade (excluding agents and brokers) throughout Japan. Large-scale retailers such as department stores and supermarkets with 50 or more employees are surveyed by complete count, while retail establishments with less than 20 employees are selected by area sampling, and other establishments, by direct sampling. The survey is conducted by mail, through the Internet, or by enumerators.
Sales by large-scale retailers
Large-scale retailers refer to department stores and supermarkets, each with 50 employees or more. Department stores are defined as establishments falling under the classification of "department stores and general merchandise supermarkets" by the Japan Standard Industrial Classification, but not corresponding to supermarkets, with a floor space of 3,000 square metres or more in the ku-area of Tokyo and the designated major cities, and of 1,500 square metres or more in other areas. Supermarkets refer to establishments adopting the self-service method for 50 percent or more of floor space, and having at least 1,500 square metres of sales floor space.