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Overall retail sales in Korea increase 2% in May 2020-06-29

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 30 that Korea’s overall retail sales in May saw a year-on-year growth of 2.0 percent.

Specifically, brick-and-mortar sales fell 6.1 percent, while web-based retailers jumped 13.5 percent.

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 hypermarket chains, three convenience store chains, and four SSM operators. The other half are online retailers.

Sales at the offline stores contracted 6.1 percent as visits to major offline retailers decreased. All store types, except for convenient stores, posted decline in sales.

SSM operators saw a sales decline of 12.4 percent. Sales of both food products (down 12.0 percent) and non-food products (down 15.8 percent) contracted.

Sales at the department store chains fell 7.4 percent. In particular, sales of clothing such as women’s casual (down 32.4 percent), women’s suits (down 20.3 percent), and men’s clothing (down 15.8 percent) showed noticeable declines.

Hypermarket chains experienced a 9.7 percent decrease in sales. Home appliances/culture inched up 1.3 percent due to the refund program for the purchases of high energy-efficiency products. However, food products (down 9.1 percent) and most other products fell in sales.

Meanwhile, sales at the convenience store chains increased 0.8 percent. Daily necessities posted a growth of 9.7 percent on the back of stronger demand for sanitary products. Cigarettes also grew 6.1 percent.

Sales at online retailers expanded 13.5 percent, continuing on an upward trend in online purchases resulting from COVID-19.Food products (up 38.8 percent) and household goods (up 22.7 percent) advanced significantly. Home appliances also increased 18.8 percent as a result of the refund program for the purchases of high energy-efficiency products. Meanwhile, services/others fell 19.1 percent as travel products declined in demand amid social-distancing campaigns.

By product, home appliances/culture (up 16.0 percent), kids/sports (up 1.5 percent), food (up 0.8 percent), household goods (12.7 percent) and global brands (up 19.1 percent) improved while fashion/accessories (down 11.8 percent) and services/others (down 6.1 percent) shrank.

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