|Year over Year||-1.2%||-0.1%||-1.9%|
Retail sales in Japan fell by 0.1 percent year-on-year in October, the eighth consecutive year-on-year fall but an improvement from the fall of 1.9 percent in September and also stronger than the consensus forecast for a fall of 1.2 percent. Retail sales rose 2.5 percent on the month in October after an increase of 0.3 percent in September.
Consistent with last week's CPI data, which showed somewhat stronger food prices in October, the retail sales data today show that year-on-year sales for food and beverages rose from a fall of 0.1 percent in September to 1.0 percent in October. Fuel sales also recorded a smaller year-on-year fall of 4.5 percent in October, compared with a fall of 6.2 percent in September. Apparel sales strengthened significantly, with year-on-year growth up from a fall of 8.0 percent in September to an increase of 1.1 percent in October, while year-on-year growth in automobile sales slowed from 2.6 percent to 1.7 percent.
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.