|Year over Year||5.4%||5.0%||-9.7%|
April retail sales jumped 5.0 percent from a year ago. It was the first increase in sales since December 2014. The gain was flattered by a low figure one year ago when consumers retrenched as the tax increase was implemented. Sluggish wage growth, falling oil prices and higher taxes have kept retail spending subdued.
Earlier this week the minutes from Bank of Japan's April 30 meeting showed most members see the effects of the tax increase dissipating, though "some members" said the improvement in private consumption "had somewhat lacked momentum."
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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