Japan retail sales soften as department store, supermarket purchases contract

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Retail sales in Japan grew at a marginal pace last month as purchases at supermarkets and department stores fell deeper into contraction.

Sales rose 0.2 per cent month on month in February, coming in below a median forecast of 0.3 per cent compiled by Bloomberg and unmoved from January’s revised rate of 0.2 per cent (previously 0.5 per cent).

In year-on-year terms sales were up just 0.1 per cent, falling back from a rise of 1 per cent in January and coming up short against expectations of a 0.7 per cent rise.

In a shift that bodes ill for domestic demand, contraction in supermarket and department store sales intensified to a fall of 2.7 per cent year on year – more than double January’s drop of 1.1 per cent.

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