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Japan retail sales rebound

Reported sales from Japanese department stores suggest a significant improvement in spending in April.

Japan retail sales, based on department stores data, lept 13.7 per cent on a same store basis compared with the same month in 2014.

The Japan Department Stores Association said a major part of the reason for the increase is that Japanese consumers restrained their spending last year following the increase of the national sales tax to eight per cent.

Official figures for Japan retail sales in March showed a plunge of nearly 10 per cent, year-on-year. But when that data was released last month, analysts cautioned that in March 2014, sales were artificially high as Japanese brought forward spending to avoid a sales tax increase that took effect on April 1.

That decrease was the worst March fall since 1998.

This year, however, tourism is proving a boon to at least some of Japan’s retailers. Foreign tourists are spending more: their purcashes more than trebled for the third month in a row, the most popular items being cosmetics and luxury watches.

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