The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 30 that overall retail sales increased 6.3 percent in April from a year earlier, as growth in online sales remains robust.
Online retail sales rose 15.9 percent year-on-year in April, while sales at brick-and-mortar retailers showed a modest growth rate of 1.0 percent year-on-year over the same period.
The Ministry releases monthly retail sales figures based on surveys of 26 major retailers. Half of them are brick-and-mortar retailers: three department store chains, three big box retailers, three convenience store chains, and four “super supermarket (SSM)” operators. The other half are online retailers: nine major online sellers and four online shopping intermediaries.
Among the brick-and-mortar retailers, convenience stores saw the biggest growth in sales of 10.0 percent. Much of the growth was tied to the increase in the number of stores, marking a 9.9 percent rise from a year earlier. Growth in sales of foods and other goods, such as over-the-counter medicines, also helped boost growth figures.
Sales at SSMs rose 0.3 percent as food sales, which take up 89.9 percent of SSM sales, grew 1.1 percent. Those offset a 6.7 percent fall in non-food sales.
Sales at department stores and big box retailers fell 0.2 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively. At department stores, reduced sales of miscellaneous goods (minus 7.2 percent) as well as kids/sports goods (minus 7.1 percent) were critical enough to hurt the 11.3 percent growth in household good sales.
As for big box retailers, overall sales declined 4.5 percent as holidays that would normally see a sales spike were reduced to nine days from 10 days a year earlier.
Online sellers and online shopping intermediaries both showed robust growth, posting a 25.0 percent and a 12.4 percent rise, respectively. Online sales growth was largely led by home appliances and electronics (up 55.9 percent). The sales of home appliances and electronics (up 26.2 percent) were also one of the contributors to the overall sales growth in online shopping intermediaries, along with that of household goods and furniture (up 17.3 percent).
By product, most categories saw growth, except for fashion accessories (minus 2.6 percent) and kids/sports goods (minus 2.9 percent). Home appliances/culture goods topped the growth rate by category (up 16.8 percent).