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Japan Retail Sales Rise for Fifth Straight Month in July

The Shibuya 109 fashion building in Tokyo, which reopened in June 2020 after closing due to the pandemic. Kyodo News via Getty Images.
Japan’s retail sales beat expectations as the consumer sector continued its recovery. Kyodo News via Getty Images. (Kyodo News)

Japan’s July retail sales beat expectations as its consumer sector continued recovering, although a coronavirus resurgence has cast doubts over the country’s outlook for future growth, Reuters reports.

A surge in Delta variant cases this month forced the government to widen state of emergency restrictions, which are now threatening to hurt consumer spending and derail a fragile economic recovery.

Retail sales rose 2.4 percent in July year-on-year, government data showed on Monday, slightly more than economists’ median forecast of 2.1 percent growth in a Reuters poll. This follows a 0.1 percent increase in June.

The trade ministry data found strong demand for a variety of items such as cars, clothing, general merchandise and food.

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