Panic buying underpins Japanese retail sales growth

Japanese retail sales have recorded a distinct uptick as consumers enter panic-buying mode in response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to Nikkei Asian Review.

According to the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, Japanese retail sales rose 1.7 per cent year on year in February. 

Pharmacy sales showed the highest rate of growth, surging 18.9 per cent due to higher sales of protective masks and toilet paper, among other hygiene-related purchases.

Supermarket sales increased 6 per cent following increased purchases of consumer goods.

By contrast, sales figures for department stores slipped 11.8 per cent resulting directly from a drop in tourism.


The slowing down of local business has concurrently seen a drop in employment figures, with less businesses seeking to fill positions.

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