Spending by wage-earning households fell a real 3.8 percent in February from a year earlier to 301,372 yen, the government said Tuesday.
The drop was expected because last year was a leap year, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications said in a preliminary report.
Personal spending remains resilient in the world’s second-largest economy, a ministry official said.
The contraction, which followed a 2.6 percent growth in January, was slightly larger than the average market projection of a 3.6 percent shrinkage.
The average monthly income of salaried workers’ households dropped a real 0.3 percent to 469,941 yen. It followed a 1.3 percent increase in January.
Disposable income shrank a real 0.6 percent to 400,103 yen.
Spending on transportation and telecommunications was the main contributor to the decline in February spending, down a real 10.0 percent to 44,126 yen. Spending on automobiles, which is covered in the transport category, slumped 39.2 percent.
Cultural and entertainment-related spending dipped 5.7 percent to 29,591 yen, with that on televisions — including digital models — down 53.0 percent.
Spending on food dropped a real 5.1 percent to 65,518 yen, especially for vegetables, which became expensive after a long string of typhoons and heavy rain last year.
Retail sales fall 2.8%
Retail sales fell 2.8 percent in February from a year earlier to 9.76 trillion yen, led by shrinking sales of machine tools, vehicles and clothing, the government said Tuesday.
The first decline in two months was due in part to a leap year.
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