|Year over Year||1.1%||-0.2%||0.8%|
September retail sales surprised and declined 0.2 percent on the year. It was the first decline since March when sales plummeted 9.7 percent. Motor vehicle sales slipped 0.1 percent for their first decline since March. However fuel continued to drop, this time down 15.4 percent the last time fuel sales increased was in September 2014. Machine sales also declined 2.1 percent after two positive gains. Positive notes can be found in fabrics, apparel and accessories they were up 4.7 percent after increasing 4.3 percent last time. Food & beverage sales were virtually unchanged at an increase of 3.4 percent.
It remains to be seen whether the Japanese economy fell into another recession in the third quarter, but these data suggests a key aspect of the Japanese economy - consumption - is far from firing on all cylinders. Another worrying piece of data for the Bank of Japan when it meets at the end of the week.
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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