TVs and $1,000 down coats: What Japan is buying ahead of tax hike
Nikkei -- Sep 04
Japanese consumers are rushing to buy expensive appliances, clothing and jewelry before the country's consumption tax increase on Oct. 1, retailers say, and the trend portends a drop-off in spending afterward.

At big-box electronics store chain Bic Camera, refrigerator sales climbed about 30% on the year in August.

Large-capacity units are among the best performers ahead of the tax hike, which will raise the rate to 10% from 8%.

Washing machine sales soared 40% in August. Bic Camera's flagship store in Tokyo's Yurakucho district enjoyed a 60% jump in demand for front-loading machines that cost over 200,000 yen ($1,880).

Steering Asia's second-largest economy through the tax hike presents one of the biggest near-term challenges for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's government.

The government has rolled out incentives for buyers of automobiles and housing to smooth out any wild swings in demand around the tax increase. But for other big-ticket items, it is a race against the clock to score the cheapest price.

Electronics chain Nojima's sales of televisions with organic light-emitting diode displays more than tripled on the year during the past two weeks.

Much of the traffic came from customers looking to replace models that they purchased about a decade ago under the Japanese government's "eco-point" stimulus program, which was meant to offset the economic slowdown following the 2008 global financial crisis.

News source: Nikkei
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