Japan retail sales show decline

Retail sales in Japan were down 4.4 per cent in April compared to the same month a year earlier following a hike in consumption tax to 8 per cent on April 1 this year.

The latest figure was published in a preliminary report from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

The government raised consumption tax from 5 per cent to 8 per cent at the start of April.

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The decline in retail sales comes after Japan confirmed GDP growth reached 1.5 per cent in the first quarter of this year in figures published on May 15.