Retail sales dropped 0.2 percent in July from a year earlier to 11.1 trillion yen for the first decline in three months, as bad weather hit demand for clothing and food, the government said Wednesday.

Declines in compact cars and larger autos because of rising gasoline prices likewise contributed to the fall, said an official of the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

Rainy weather dampened the need for summer clothing, and the year-on-year figure also showed a drop because of the increase in demand last year generated by the “Cool Biz” casual dress campaign.

Retail fuel sales posted an increase for the 28th straight month due to continued surges in crude oil prices. Drugs, garden supplies and pet accessories also rose.

METI maintained its basic assessment for retail sales, saying in its preliminary report, “Although a modest recovery has been seen, the trend appears to be flat.”

METI has been using the same phrase since October.

Sales by wholesalers grew 6.7 percent to 36.23 trillion yen for the 26th straight monthly gain, supported by a 14.1 percent increase in nonferrous metals and oil, 9.5 percent growth in electrical parts and semiconductors, and a 12.0 percent rise in vehicles, mainly for export to the United States, the METI official said.

Sales of food for restaurants by wholesalers also climbed, but those of textiles dropped for the 33rd consecutive month.

Combined wholesale and retail sales expanded 5.0 percent to 47.33 trillion yen, up for the 26th straight month.

Overall sales by large supermarkets and department stores fell 1.4 percent to 1.90 trillion yen, down for the fourth month in a row.

Sales at supermarkets slipped 1.3 percent to 1.06 trillion yen after 0.5 percent growth in June, and department store sales dropped 1.5 percent to 838.7 billion yen, declining for the fourth straight month.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.