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Candle, battery sales soared 20-fold ahead of Typhoon Hagibis

Nikkei POS data shows Japanese citizens stocking up on emergency goods

Shelves usually stocked with instant noodles were largely empty at a store in the greater Tokyo area before Typhoon Hagibis made landfall.   © Kyodo

TOKYO -- Battery and candle sales in Japan's capital soared about 20 times from a year earlier on Oct. 11 and 12 as consumers stocked up on emergency supplies before Typhoon Hagibis made landfall.

Many retailers announced ahead of time that they would shut their doors during the typhoon, which was projected to be one of the worst ever to hit Tokyo. With power outages from a September typhoon still fresh in their minds, customers seemed most interested in making sure they could see in the dark.

AAA alkaline battery sales jumped 15 times on the year nationwide on Oct. 11, according to data collected by Nikkei POS. The figure climbed 22 times in the Tokyo area on Oct. 11, and 23 times the following day.

Sales of candles normally used for family shrines and altars expanded two to three times nationwide for the two days -- 17 times for the Tokyo area alone on Oct. 12.

Toilet paper and baby diaper sales surged by 80% to 90%. Many had stocked up on these items ahead of the consumption tax hike on Oct. 1, leading to a lull in sales afterward, but the typhoon revived demand.

Bottled mineral water sales jumped four times both nationwide and in the Tokyo area. Sandwich bread sales increased 76% in the Tokyo area on Oct. 12, while sales of cans of sardines and tuna saw a more than fivefold boost.

Retailers had prepared for the rush, building up inventory of products ranging from bottled water and instant noodles to batteries and flashlights. Even so, supermarket operators in the Tokyo area reported selling out of bread, water and produce at some outlets.

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