The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 29 that Korea’s retail sales rose by 9.4 percent to 10.7 trillion won in November on a double-digit growth in e-commerce revenues and strong performance of brick-and-mortar retailers.
Web-based sales, which account for more than a third of the total retail sales, jumped 16.7 percent from a year earlier, while in-store revenues expanded 5.4 percent, the fastest pace recorded since January.
Sales in all seven major product categories ranging from food and clothing advanced with a 17.9-percent growth in the home appliance/culture category and a 17-percent increase in the service/miscellaneous category.
The Ministry estimates monthly retail sales by surveying data from 26 major retailers. In-store sales are combined revenues of 13 brick-and-mortar retailers including three department store chains, three hypermarket chains, three convenient store chains, and four chains of supermarkets operated by large retailers called “super supermarkets (SSMs).”Online sales are the total revenues of nine major online sellers and four online sales intermediaries, which operate between buyers and sellers.
Online retail sales accelerated at a double-digit rate as revenues of the nine major online sellers soared 29.4 percent from a year earlier. The online sellers’ food sales surged 30.5 percent and their revenues in the fashion/clothing category jumped 25.1 percent thanks to various promotions. In December, their revenues represented 10.2 percent of the total retail sales – up from 8.6 percent a year earlier.
Revenues of the four online sales intermediaries returned to growth from a month of contraction, climbing 12.6 percent. Sales in the home appliance/electronics category, which account for 26.2 percent of their total revenues, rose by 17.9 percent, and food revenues went up 24.7 percent.
A breakdown of in-store sales showed robust performance of convenient stores and department stores.
Revenues of the three convenient store chains surged 10.2 percent on an 11.1-percent expansion in food sales. The 13.7-percent increase in the number of stores also contributed to the revenue growth, although sales per store contracted 3.1 percent.
The three department store chains together posted an 8.5-percent increase in revenues, with sales per store advancing 6.7 percent. Cold weather boosted demand for winter clothing, leading to a 5.2-percent revenue growth in the fashion category and a 20.1-percent increase in the children/sports category at department stores.
Revenues of the three hypermarket operators remained unchanged as a slight rise in food sales was offset by the decrease in sales of household goods. For the four SSM chains, a 0.5-percent decline in food revenues led to their total sales down by 1.2 percent.
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