Sales at Japanese supermarkets edged up 0.6% in October compared to the year-ago period, the first monthly sales increase in 16 months.

According to the Japan Chain Stores Association, October revenue at the 9,002 stores surveyed totalled ¥1.22trn (US$11.1bn). October food sales rose 0.1% to ¥0.67trn from a year earlier.

Supermarket sales are seen as a key measure of Japanese consumer spending, one of the most sluggish parts of the economy, reported Reuters.