|Year over Year||-1.5%||-1.1%||0.5%|
March retail sales were down 1.1 percent on the year -- the weakest reading since December. Among the categories that declined, fuel sank 15.0 percent, machinery & equipment declined 4.6 percent and motor vehicles were down 3.1 percent. General merchandise was down 1.0 percent. However, sales of fabrics, apparel & accessories and food & beverage were up 3.6 percent and 2.9 percent respectively.
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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