|Year over Year||-1.5%||-2.0%||0.2%|
January retail sales declined 2.0 percent from a year ago. It was the first decline in retail sales since June and confirms the weakness exhibited by household spending which was released earlier. Auto sales dropped for a fourth month, this time by 4.4 percent on the year. Machinery sales sank 8.1 percent and were down for the tenth consecutive month. Fuel sales plummeted 15.6 percent and were down for a fourth month. Apparel sales were up 0.5 percent while food sales gained 2.7 percent.
Retail sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell durable and nondurable goods.
Another way to look at consumer spending in addition to the household spending survey is through the retail sales report. This report gives the total value of goods and services sold each month at retail outlets. The preferred number is the change from the previous year. The report serves as a direct gauge of consumption and consumer confidence. Consumer spending is one of the most important leading indicators for the Japanese economy. Increasing sales signal consumer confidence and economic growth, but higher consumption also leads to inflationary pressures.
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