Rika Tanaka clutches a freshly-purchased tissue-wrapped designer skirt. "I've been shopping mostly in cheaper high street stores over the past two years, not so much in department stores like I used to.
"But things seem to be changing. The economy is looking up. And although people are still feeling cautious about the future, they do seem to be spending more. Myself included."
Ms Tanaka, 32, who works in the offices of an airline company, was apparently not alone in her newfound optimism for the economic outlook in Japan, a nation all too familiar with the gloom of being stuck in the financial doldrums.
Despite the fact it was a rainy weekday morning and the summer sales had yet to start, Ms Tanaka was among crowds of shoppers perusing the high-end womenswear lines on the second floor the Hikarie shopping complex in Tokyo's Shibuya district.
The presence of shoppers spending money will come as a relief to no one more than the prime minister Shinzo Abe, who is banking on the success of his aggressive reflationary policies – and a boost in consumer spending - to break close to two decades of economic stagnation.
Since coming to power last December, Abe's administration has become synonymous with so-called Abenomics, his bold economic policies focusing on aggressive monetary stimulus, heavy fiscal spending and structural reform.
And so far, it appears to be paying off. In addition to the yen weakening, a flurry of new data released this month confirms that the wheels are in motion for the world's third largest economy to take cautious steps towards economic recovery.
A six-month slide of core consumer prices has been halted, factory output has increased and department stores are reporting a rise in year-on-year sales, with an upswing in big ticket items in particular.
But the icing on the economic cake was no doubt the Bank of Japan's closely-watched quarterly Tankan survey, which last week reported a positive reading for the first time in two years, reflecting the growing optimism of big manufacturers.
"Consumer confidence is certainly up based on the data," said Brian Salsberg, a consumer and retail partner at McKinsey Japan. "Sales of luxury items such as sports cars and leather handbags are rising.
"There is a more optimistic view of the future than people had previously, particularly after the March 11 earthquake and a number of years of ineffective political leadership. Now confidence is up and spending is up."
On the streets of Tokyo, it's not just the presence of bag-laden shoppers that is key to the nation's economic recovery – but also the sound of politicians blaring out slogans through the loud speakers of passing vehicles.
The success of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in elections in two weeks for control of parliament's upper house - for which official campaigning has just begun – is critical to the future of Mr Abe's reforms.
Not only will a victory be an apparent vindication of Abenomics, it will also bring to a welcome end a six-year political deadlock, which ironically came about during Mr Abe's first short-lived tenure as PM in 2007 and has thwarted the policies of prime ministers ever since.
"It looks like there will be a landslide victory for the LDP," said Martin Schulz, a senior research fellow at Fujitsu Research Institute.
"If so, it will bring about a situation we have not had in a long time – more effective policy making will become possible."
He added: "By Japanese standards, the atmosphere is extremely upbeat. Abenomics has definitely had an impact and there is a sense of optimism among people at the moment. But this optimism is rooted in economic reforms to come."
Regardless of the electoral outcome, a sense of caution clearly remains among many Japanese who have yet to feel the benefits of such financial reforms.
Testimony to this are the nation's salarymen who are still feeling the pinch, according to a new survey which found that their monthly allowances – traditionally handed out by their wives – have hit a 30-year low.
"The government has addressed the low hanging fruit – printing money and allowing the yen to weaken," added Mr Salsberg of McKinsey. "These are aggressive moves that should be applauded, but should have been made a long time ago.
"For Japan's recovery to be sustainable, the government will have to fundamentally increase the efficiency of Japan Inc and look for opportunities to restructure companies and potentially industries so they are globally competitive and return to growth.Buy Cheap Michael Kors Satchel at Michael kors handbags outlet online store.
"Nothing they have done so far has addressed these issues. These are difficult but necessary steps. Otherwise, the current climate of optimism will be very short lived."
Back in the Shibuya retail complex, beneath the bright lights, bustling atmosphere and glossy merchandise, a number of Tokyoites expressed caution in relation to the future.
Ayako Asano, 23, a shop assistant selling organic beauty products, said: "My expectations are very low. I can't imagine these policies will make a difference for most people. I would prefer for the government to focus on revitalising areas of the northeast that are still struggling after the 2011 disaster."
Her reticence was echoed by shopper Tamayo Iwashita, 45, who works for a media company. Pausing from examining a display of cut-price designer umbrellas, she said: "I don't have high hopes for the future of Abenomics. I can't see how these policies will succeed in making a positive difference. In the end, they will probably only benefit wealthy people and big companies."
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