Retail in Asia

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Japan retail sales gain 8% in May

Retail sales in Japan rose again in May, the third month in a row to witness growth, as the archipelago nation continues to see improvement in national consumer sentiment post-pandemic lockdown.

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Japanese retail sales gained 8.2% year-on-year for the month, beating expectations of a 7.9% increase, reported Reuters. The rise in retail sales was upheld by year-on-year gains in general merchandise and clothing items, as well as cars and fuel, government data showed.

Households loosened their spending habits during the five- week month, but underlying consumption tendencies remain tied to Covid-19-induced squeezes, meaning Japan’s economic recovery is likely to take time to recover.

With the Olympic Games set to take place in Tokyo next month, projections have already been made that not a lot of economic growth will take place, thanks to an extension of emergency measures to stem a rise in coronavirus infections
has dented the growth outlook.

“Sales at stores are likely to fall, which is having the largest impact, even as the share of people … going out despite the emergency measures is rising,” Masaaki Kanno, Chief economist at Sony Financial Holdings, told Reuters.

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Japan, the world’s third-largest economy, is set to expand economically by an annualised 0.5% in the current quarter after posting a 3.9% annualised drop in January-March, reported Reuters.