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Economy

Panic buying in Japan lifts February retail sales

Job openings sink 2.2% as coronavirus crimps hiring

TOKYO -- Japan's retail sales in February rose 1.7% from the previous year to 11.2 trillion yen, the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry said Tuesday. Drugstore sales surged 18.9%, as consumers scrambled to buy face masks, toilet paper and other health and hygiene products in response to the new coronavirus outbreak.

The February figures are the first year-on-year increase in retail sales in Japan since September last year, when there was a last-minute rise in demand before the consumption tax increase.

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