Japan retail sales slump as pandemic curbs consumer spending

Japan retail sales slump as pandemic curbs consumer spending

Japan retail sales fell a double-digit pace for the second month in May as the coronavirus pandemic heavily affected consumer confidence and hopes for economic recovery.

Retail sales dropped 12.3% in May year-on-year as the downturn in demand hinted at a longer recession for the world’s third-largest economy. The decline followed a 13.9% fall in April.

Policymakers are hoping that a recovery in consumer spending will support economic growth despite the uncertainty of the global demand outlook.

Analysts say that a bout of “revenge spending” could ensue after lockdowns are lifted and as more people get used to social distancing measures in public places.

The Japanese economy is forecasted to contract by over 20% on an annual basis this quarter.

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