Shoppers in Tokyo

Japanese retail sales fell 2.1 percent in August in year-on-year terms, marking their six straight month of contraction, according to data from Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry.

It was a tough month for retailers. As reported, typhoons and the fact that there was one fewer weekend day compared with the same month last year, hit sales at Japanese retailers.

Still, research analyst Masafumi Shoda of Nomura, said that August is typically not a make-or-break month for Japanese merchants.

“August is not that important, accounting for only around 7 percent of annual sales as discount sales wind down,” Shoda wrote in a report.

Meanwhile, Japan’s currency has strengthened another two percentage points over the past month- an ongoing trend that is bad news for the export-reliant economy. The yen is currently trading at .0099 to the dollar.

The growth in foreign tourist arrivals to Japan has started to slow down, which is also a less than reassuring development for the country’s retailers. Many stores have been courting high-spending tourists, especially those from China, to partially compensate for lackluster spending by Japanese consumers.

The number of foreign tourists to Japan rose 12.8 percent in August, down from the 19.7 percent growth seen in July and 23.9 percent growth registered in June, according to the Japan National Tourism Organization.

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