— Japan Oct Retail Sales Hit by Tumble in Auto Sales As Subsidies End
— Japan Oct Retail Auto Sales -24.1% Y/Y Vs Sep Revised +1.8%
— Japan Oct Retail Fuel Sales +4.8% Y/Y Vs Sep Revised +7.8%

TOKYO (MNI) – Japanese retail sales dipped 0.2% in October from a
year earlier, posting the first annual decline in 10 months, as sales of
automobiles tumbled, data from the Ministry of Economy, Trade and
Industry released on Monday showed.

Automobile sales plunged 24.1% year-on-year in October, the first
fall in 17 months, after the government ended subsidies for buying
fuel-efficient vehicles in September.

Partly offsetting the auto sales drop, fuel sales posted the 11th
straight y/y gain, although the y/y rise in gasoline prices has

Retail sales have recovered from -5.7% in February 2009, which was
the largest y/y drop in seven years. In January 2010, retail sales rose
2.3%, the first y/y gain in 17 months and have risen every month since.

In October, sales rose in five of the seven major categories on a
year-on-year basis: machinery and equipment including consumer
electronics (+17.6%), fuel (+4.8%), clothing and personal belongings
(+5.2%) food and beverages (+2.1%), as well as ‘other’ retail sales

In addition to the sharp drop in auto sales, a year-on-year decline
was also seen in sales at department stores and supermarkets (-0.2%).

The 24.1% y/y fall in auto sales in October came after a revised
1.8% rise in September (preliminary +1.6%). The government ended car
purchase subsidies in September but will maintain reduced tax rates for
buying and owning energy-efficient cars and trucks.

The 4.8% y/y gain in fuel sales in October was lower than the +7.8%
in September and the +11.2% in August. The 9.0% rise in December 2009
was first year-on-year gain in 15 months.

Fuel sales have recovered from the record y/y drop of -23.3% marked
in February 2009.

The average price of regular gasoline in Japan last week stood at
Y132.3 ($1.58) per liter, or $6.0 per gallon, remaining unchanged for a
fourth straight week, according to data released by the Oil Information
Center on Thursday.

The price was up by 4.5% from Y126.6 per liter a year earlier.

Sales of machinery and equipment marked the 14th consecutive y/y
gain, thanks to the government’s reward program for purchases of greener
consumer electronics including flat-screen TVs, refrigerators and air
conditioners. The pace of y/y gains in this category picked up from a
revised 8.4% in September and +9.9% in August.

Other details from the latest data:

Commercial sales, or combined sales at the wholesale and retail
levels (y/y): October +0.1%, the eighth consecutive year-on-year rise,
following a revised +1.5% in September and recovering from the record
drop of -24.3% marked in May 2009.

Sales at the wholesale level (y/y): October +0.2%, the third
consecutive y/y rise after +1.5% in September and recovering from the
record fall of -30.3% hit in May 2009.

Large retail store sales on a same-store adjusted basis (y/y):
October +0.4%, the first annual increase in 31 months following a -1.7%
in September.

Large retail store sales, unadjusted (y/y): October -1.2%, the
first year-on-year rise in 27 months after -1.1% in September.

** Market News International Tokyo Newsroom: 81-3-5403-4835 **

[TOPICS: M$J$$$,M$A$$$,MAJDS$,MT$$$$]