|Year over Year||-0.9%||-0.2%||-1.4%|
July retail sales retreated for the sixth month in seven by 0.2 percent. In June, sales dropped 1.3 percent. Among the subcategories, auto sales were down 0.2 percent after slipped 0.1 percent in June. Fuel sales dropped 11.9 percent after sinking 11.6 percent the month before. The sales decline for general merchandise moderated to 0.7 percent after sinking 3.3 percent in June.
However, food & beverage sales were up 2.0 percent after increasing 0.7 percent and fabrics, apparel & accessories gained 1.3 percent and just 0.1 percent in June. Machinery & equipment advanced 0.8 percent after increasing 0.2 percent. The moderation in the decline in retail sales followed a similar pattern in the household spending report.
Retail Sales measure the total receipts at stores that sell durable and nondurable goods. The data are part of the Preliminary Report on the Current Survey of Commerce.
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.