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    Fall in Japanese retail sales

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    Japanese retail sales fell more than twice than was expected in July as unseasonably wet weather and the late onset of summer sales dampened consumer appetites.

    According to the ministry of economy trade and industry, retail sales for the month totalled 11.347 billion yen ($97.89 million), contracting 2.2 per cent from the same period a year earlier.

    “Today’s data are undoubtedly weak and suggest that consumption growth, which has been modest to begin with, may be decelerating,” Lehman Brothers chief Japan economist in Tokyo, Hiroshi Shiraishi, wrote in a research note.

    Lehman Brothers had forecast retail sales to decline 0.9 per cent, while consensus estimates were for a 0.8 per cent decline. The decline in spending was reportedly the biggest on a year-on-year basis since February 2005, when retail sales fell 2.8 per cent.

    The report by the trade ministry covers retail store sales, and does not include internet purchases and other forms of spending on entertainment and travel.