Retail trade growth in Japan slowed to 0.6 percent year-on-year in January 2019 from 1.3 percent in the previous month and missing market consensus of 1.1 percent. It marked the weakest gain since May last year, as sales eased for machinery & equipment (1.6 pct vs 4.2 pct in December), fuel (2 pct vs 3.9 percent), and medicine & toiletry (2.6 pct vs 2.7 pct). In addition, sales fell for fabrics apparel & accessories (-0.3 pct vs 4.2 pct), and food & beverages (-0.4 pct vs 0.4 pct) and declined further for general merchandise (-5.1 pct vs -1.4 pct). On the other hand, sales rose at a faster pace for motor vehicles (6 pct vs 3.9 pct) and others (1.4 pct vs 0.1 pct). On a monthly basis, retail trade went down 2.3 percent, after increasing 0.9 percent in December. Retail Sales YoY in Japan averaged 4.56 percent from 1971 until 2019, reaching an all time high of 36.50 percent in January of 1979 and a record low of -14.30 percent in March of 1998.
Retail Sales YoY in Japan is expected to be 1.70 percent by the end of this quarter, according to Trading Economics global macro models and analysts expectations. Looking forward, we estimate Retail Sales YoY in Japan to stand at 1.20 in 12 months time. In the long-term, the Japan Retail Sales is projected to trend around 0.90 percent in 2020, according to our econometric models.