Retail trade in Japan increased 3.5 percent year-on-year in October of 2018, well above the the 2.2 percent increase for September and market expectations of a 2.6 percent climb. It was the fastest expansion rate in ten months. Sales grew at a faster pace for fuel (14.7 percent vs 13.2 percent), medicine & toiletry stores (6.2 percent vs 0.1 percent). Also, sales of motor vehicles rebounded a sharp 6.6 percent after edging down 0.1 percent in the previous month. In contrast, sales of general merchandise declined further (1.6 percent vs 1.3 percent). On a monthly basis, retail sales went up 1.2 percent, following a 0.2 percent gain in September. Retail Sales YoY in Japan averaged 4.58 percent from 1971 until 2018, 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 -0.90 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 1.86 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.