Oricon has just announced the official weekly sales numbers for AKB48's latest single "Beginner." In its first week, the single sold approximately 827,000 copies, becoming their fifth consecutive number-one.
That total sets a new record for first-week single sales by a female group, surpassing SPEED's "ALL MY TRUE LOVE," which sold 601,000 copies in 1998. Among all female artists (group and solo), "Beginner" ranks #3 in first-week single sales, behind Hikaru Utada's "Addicted To You" (1.068 million) in 1999 and Namie Amuro's "CAN YOU CELEBRATE?" (828,000) in 1997. However, that makes them #1 so far in the 21st century, outselling Utada's "Can You Keep A Secret?" (784,000) in 2001.
"Beginner" is also AKB48's third consecutive single to sell more than half a million copies in the first week. This also sets a record for female artists, as Utada and Ayumi Hamasaki held the previous record with streaks of two consecutive singles.