|Year over Year||1.3%||0.6%||1.7%|
Retail sales in Japan rose by 0.6 percent year-on-year in December, down from 1.7 percent in November and well below the consensus forecast for increase of 1.3 percent. Retail sales fell 1.7 percent on the month, after an increase of 0.2 percent in November.
The fall in headline growth partly reflects weaker apparel sales. These fell 2.1 percent year-on-year in December after increasing by 4.4 percent in November. Growth in other categories of spending was mixed, with fuel sales strengthening, up 1.0 percent year-on-year in December after a fall of 0.4 percent in November, and food and beverage sales growth down slightly from 1.9 percent to 1.7 percent. Automobile sales recorded strong year-on0-year growth of 5.9 percent, albeit down fro m6.6 percent in November, while machinery sales fell by 0.2 percent, an improvement from the fall of 1.2 percent in November.
Household spending data for December are scheduled for release tomorrow.
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.