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Economy in Brief

Japan Retail Sales Show Some Life in January and Give it Back in February
by Robert Brusca March 27, 2008

Japanese retail sales strengthened late in 2007 but are giving those gains back in Q1 2008. Inflation adjusted retail sales fell by 1% in February 2008, unwinding the 0.8% gain in January. In the quarter-to-date real retail sales are now shrinking at a 0.6% annual rate. The inflation adjusted retail trends are somewhat distressed.

The detail for Japan’s retail sales is not seasonally adjusted or inflation adjusted. But for those flows we can compare the last 12-month pace with that of 12-month previous to that (Yr-Ago). On that basis there has been improvement across most of the retail sales components. Growth is better over the recent 12 months than over the previous 12 months, except for food and beverages.

Japan Retail Sales Trends
  Feb-08 Jan-08 Dec-07 3-mo 6-mo 12-mo Yr-Ago Q-to-Date
Total SA -1.0% 0.8% -0.7% -3.5% -2.0% -0.4% -2.0% -0.6%
Not seasonally adjusted
Total: Nominal 2.4% 0.6% -0.8% 8.8% 4.9% 3.2% -0.6% 7.2%
Motor Vehicles -3.0% 2.9% -0.8% -4.2% -3.0% 3.3% -18.8% 3.7%
Food& Beverage 1.9% 0.2% -0.2% 7.6% 4.6% 2.1% 6.2% 4.7%
Fabric apparel& access 5.0% 1.2% -2.6% 14.7% 4.7% 2.3% 0.9% 12.0%
Rest of Retail 3.5% 0.2% -0.9% 11.7% 6.9% 3.9% -0.2% 8.7%
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