JP: Retail Sales

Mon Jan 29 17:50:00 CST 2018

Consensus Actual Previous Revised
Year over Year 1.8% 3.6% 2.2% 2.1%

Retail sales in Japan grew 3.6 percent on the year in December, up from revised growth of 2.1 percent in November and the strongest growth since early 2015. Seasonally-adjusted retail sales increased by 0.9 percent on the month after an increase of 1.8 percent in November.

Stronger headline retail sales growth in December was partly driven by an increase in year-on-year growth on food and beverages, up 2.4 percent after increasing by just 0.1 percent previously. Other major categories of spending that recorded stronger growth in December included fuel, motor vehicles, clothing, and machinery and equipment.

This improvement in retail sales in December contrasts with other data also released today that showed real household spending fell 0.1 on the year in December after growth of 1.7 percent in November. Unlike the retail sales data, the household spending data showed weaker spending on food and clothing in December.

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.