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Surprise fall in Japan retail sales

A surprise fall in Japan retail sales was recorded in August.

Retail sales fell 1.1 per cent from July to August, according to trade ministry data. In July they rose 1.5 per cent month-on-month. Year-on-year sales for August were down 2.1 per cent.

But an analyst for Bloomberg warned against “an overly pessimistic view” of the data, citing poor weather and fewer weekend days in the calendar month.

“The labor market will likely continue to recover, but it doesn’t look like the improvement will accelerate. Private consumption will probably stay flat in the months ahead,” said Junko Nishioka, chief economist for Japan at Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation.

Another analyst predicted sales of non-durable goods such as food and daily commodities will recover as a stronger yen pushes down import prices.

Department store and supermarket sales fell 3.6 per cent year-on-year.

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