Japan’s retail sales resume falling

27 December, 2020 12:00 AM printer

TOKYO: Japanese retail sales dropped in November for the first time in two months, as a record surge in virus cases in recent weeks discouraged shoppers and darkened the outlook for the recovery.

Receipts fell 2 per cent from October, with Japan posting new daily highs in confirmed cases from around the middle of the month, the economy ministry reported Friday. Analysts had forecast an 0.8 per cent decrease.

Separate reports showed Tokyo consumer prices fell more than expected, even as the unemployment rate and a key metric of tightness in the labour market improved.

The jobs numbers were a good sign for workers, but sharp cuts to bonuses at the country's biggest companies this winter suggest households are likely to tighten their purse strings.

Friday's data suggests renewed weakness in consumer spending, a key driver of Japan's rebound from its pandemic slump.