Japan's department store sales in April plunged 12.0 percent from a year earlier after surging 25.4 percent in March, the first drop in six months, owing it to the consumption tax hike from April 1. According to the Japan Department Store Association, total sales at 241 stores operated by 84 companies stood at 417.2 billion yen (about 4.11 billion U.S. dollars), compared with 681.8 billion yen (6.72 billion dollars) in March. The association said the decrease came after the last-minute demand the previous month before the tax hike but added the effect eased later in the month. Demand for jewelry and other luxury goods as well as furniture saw sharp decrease in the reporting period, which dropped 38.9 percent and 18.3 percent separately, but the drops in sales of foodstuffs and clothing were relatively small, it said. For future, some stores are relatively optimistic, hoping the summer bonuses which tend to be paid between June and August may stimulate consumption.