|Year over Year||2.4%||3.0%||5.0%|
Retail sales were up a greater than expected 3.0 percent in May from a year ago. Sales had rebounded 4.9 percent in April after sinking 9.7 percent in March. All major categories with the exception of fuel were higher in May. Most were up for a second month, however the gains in May were uniformly smaller than in April.
Motor vehicle sales were up for a second consecutive month, this time by 4.9 percent on the year after increasing 7.9 percent in April. Machinery sales also advanced for a second month. They were up 9.1 percent after 11.1 percent in April. Food and Beverage sales increased 4.9 percent after 6.2 percent while apparel sales added 4.6 percent after April's 5.1 percent. Still reflecting price declines, fuel sales slumped 12.3 percent after declining 9.1 percent in April.
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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