Japan Retail Sales Fall More than Estimated
Japan’s retail sales declined by 2.1 percent year-on-year in November 2019, compared with market expectations of a 1.7 percent drop and after a 7 percent fall in the previous month, as consumer sentiment remained depressed after October’s sales tax hike. Decreases were seen in sales of general merchandise (-4.4% vs -13.3% in October), fabrics apparel & accessories (-0.1% vs -5.9%), motor vehicles (-5.9% vs -16.8%), machinery & equipment (-7.8% vs -14.7%), fuel (-7.1% vs -12.7%), and other (-1.8% vs -5.7%). In contrast, sales grew for food & beverages (0.4% vs -1.9%), and medicine & toiletry stores (2.6% vs 0.6%). On a monthly basis, retail sales advanced 4.5 percent in November, compared with forecasts of a 4.6 percent gain and following a revised 14.2 percent fall in October. Retail Sales YoY in Japan averaged 4.49 percent from 1971 until 2019, reaching an all-time high of 36.50 percent in January of 1979 and a record low of -14.30 percent in March of 1998.
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