A4 : Through the third quarter (nine months), the Japanese market was down 9% compared with the same period of the previous year, but we are forecasting that the market will be down 2% in the fourth quarter (three months). The low-priced silent piano that we introduced to the market at the end of last year is performing well. In addition, deliveries of professional audio equipment by subsidiary Yamaha Sound System Inc. are concentrated at the end of the fiscal year. Therefore, our view is that sales are going to move upward in the fourth quarter.
In the United States, signs emerged in the third quarter that keyboard instrument sales were bottoming out. However, in December, retail sales of large volume retailers to final customers were below the level of the same period of the previous year. In addition, in part because of our aggressive sales activities to retail stores prior to price revisions in the same period of the previous year, we are forecasting that sales for the fourth quarter this year will be down 4% compared with the same period of the previous year.
In China, in part because of an increase in sales due to a surge in demand during the fourth quarter of the previous year, which was related to a scheduled price increase in April 2009, we are taking a more-cautious stance and have lowered the forecast for the fourth quarter to 3% over the same period of the previous year, compared with double-digit growth during the previous nine months. However, we believe we can raise sales somewhat more.
In the European market, sales in Germany have held relatively firm, but conditions in Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, and the United Kingdom are harsh. For this reason, we implemented price policies and various sales promotion policies, but, in part because of favorable conditions in the same period of the previous year, conditions were tough, and we ended the third quarter of this year with sales down 18% compared with the same period of the previous year. During the fourth quarter, in part because performance was not good in the same quarter a year earlier, we have set a more ambitious objective and are forecasting performance at about the same level as for the fourth quarter of the previous fiscal year.
In other regions, there are clear signs of recovery overall, and we are looking for sales to increase 21% over the previous year in the fourth quarter.