Retail sales in Japan rose 3.5 percent year on year in February, said the Ministry of economy, Trade and Industry on Thursday.
Japan's retail figures saw the largest advance since August 2010 and beat analysts' expectations of 1.3 percent, published figures showed. Sales were helped by a strong demand in the motor industry, according to the Ministry.
Car sales increased 21.4 percent, with Toyota Motors saying its global output grew 28 percent to 811,310 vehicles from a year earlier. Meanwhile, retail sales for fuel gained 4.8 percent year on year in February. Sales of beverages and food rose 2.5 percent, up 1.9 percent from the previous month.
The Nikkei 225 climbed to pre-earthquake levels this week indicating consumer confidence is returning. However, the country's economy contracted 0.7 percent annually in the final quarter of 2011.