|Year over Year||1.7%||0.5%||-0.1%|
Retail sales in February increase for the first time since October. Sales were up 0.5 percent from a year ago, below expectations of a 1.5 percent gain. Sales were mixed. General merchandise sales were up 0.9 percent, fabrics, apparel & accessories were up 2.5 percent and food & beverages gained 2.7 percent. However motor vehicle sales were down 1.3 percent, machinery & equipment retreated 4.7 percent and fuel dropped 10.7 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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