27 Apr '11, 2am

Japanese retail sales slump after disaster

TOKYO: Japanese retail sales recorded their steepest drop in 13 years in March, the government said Wednesday as last month's massive earthquake and tsunami dampened consumer sentiment. Retail store sales in March tumbled 8.5 per cent from a year earlier, reversing a 0.1 per cent gain in February, the ministry of economy, trade and industry said. It was the sharpest drop in 13 years and the second worst on record since the government started compiling the data in 1980, the ministry said. The March 11 disaster destroyed houses and stores along the northeastern coast and prompted consumers across the nation to cut spending on non-essential items, economists said. Auto sales plunged 32.8 per cent in March from a year earlier, with machinery sales down 17.3 per cent. Sales of clothes and textiles fell 10.0 per cent but fuel sales rose 5.1 per cent, according to the official da...

Full article: http://www.channelnewsasia.com/stories/afp_asiapacific_bu...

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