Japanese retail sales rose 1.6 percent in June from a year earlier, government data showed on Monday, in a sign that hopes for economic recovery are underpinning consumer spending.
The annual rise compared with a 1.9 percent gain projected by economists in a Reuters poll and followed a 0.8 percent gain in May, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry showed.
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Consumer confidence in Japan rose to its highest level in over seven years during the second quarter, a survey by market research firm Nielsen showed on Tuesday, as the country undergoes an economic revival led by Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.
Japan's consumer confidence index rose five points to 78, its highest reading since the first quarter of 2006, according to Nielsen's quarterly survey of consumer confidence and spending intentions.
Japan's core consumer prices for May were unchanged from a year earlier, marking the first time in seven months that prices have stopped falling, while industrial output surged past forecasts, data showed on Friday.
The consumer price index (CPI) for the month came in flat, following a 0.4 percent year on year decline in April.
Retail sales rose 0.8 percent in May from the year before, compared to a revised 0.2 percent decline in April.
Consumer confidence across Asia-Pacific has risen amid stable economic growth in Asia-Pacific, with the emerging markets of Myanmar, India, Indonesia and the Philippines leading the region, according to the latest MasterCard Index of Consumer Confidence.
However, Japan recorded the most substantial improvement in consumer confidence, surging 37.0 index points from the previous survey to 60.7 index points, the highest it has been since the second half of 2005 when the index reached 63.0 index points.
Japan's core consumer prices fell 0.5 percent in March from a year earlier, down for a fifth straight month, government data showed on Friday, suggesting the Bank of Japan faces a tough task to achieve its 2 percent inflation target.
The fall in the core consumer price index, which includes oil products but excludes volatile prices of fresh fruit, vegetables and seafood, compared with a median market forecast for a 0.4 percent annual fall. It followed a 0.3 percent decline in the year to February.
Japanese consumer confidence improved in March to the highest level in almost six years, a Cabinet Office survey showed on Wednesday, indicating that aggressive government and central bank policies are having their desired effect.
The survey's sentiment index for general households, which includes views on incomes and jobs, was 44.8 in March, which was the highest since May 2007. That was also up from a revised 44.2 in February.
Japanese superstore operators are concerned about a government bill banning retailers from advertising price discounts to minimise the impact of the April 2014 consumption tax increase on customers and, eventually, their earnings.
The government says it has drawn up the bill to allow companies to smoothly pass on the heavier tax to prices of their products and merchandise.
The number of retail stores in Japan has declined in 2012 as Japan's shoppers showed less interest in large shopping sprees and more interest in convenience stores, a new market report released by Japan's Seven & iHoldings showed.
The report said this is partly due to the ever aging population of Japan as well as the increasing number or working women who have less time to go shopping for the family or for leisure.
Find the full report here.
Japanese retail sales fell 1.2 percent in October from a year earlier, government data showed on Thursday, adding to mounting evidence that the economy has fallen into a mild recession.
Japanese consumers are closing their wallets as the economy's outlook darkens, making it harder for Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda to stave off the nation's third recession in four years.
Households are holding the most cash since 2005, shunning risk as they grow gloomier, Bank of Japan data indicate. Sliding private consumption contributed to an annualised 3.5 percent decline in gross domestic product in the past quarter, a Cabinet Office report showed on Monday.