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Korea’s August retail sales post a year-on-year growth of 6.6% 2020-09-29

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on September 29 that Korea’s overall retail sales in August rose 6.6 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sales of offline retailers edged down 2.4 percent, but those of online retailers jumped 20.1 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.

Physical retailers experienced a sales decline of 2.4 percent. Decreased travels and outdoor activities due to the outbreak of COVID-19, as well as later than usual Chuseok holidays and the longer rainy season, attributed to the fall. All store types, except for convenient stores, went down in sales.

Sales at SSM operators went down 7.6 percent. Because the Chuseok holidays fall in October this year, gift set-related categories saw declines: daily miscellaneous goods (down 13.8 percent), daily necessities (down 13.0 percent), and processed food (down 9.8 percent).

Department store chains experienced a sales decrease of 6.5 percent. Women’s casual (down 31.1 percent), women’s suits (down 28.2 percent), and miscellaneous goods (down 25.5 percent) contracted, and food products (down 29.3 percent) also fell due to later than usual Chuseok holidays.

Hypermarket chains saw a year-on-year decline of 2.3 percent in sales. Demand for fashion products and sports equipment went down, and clothing (down 20.2 percent), sports (down 18.0 percent), and miscellaneous goods (down 26.8 percent) decreased.

Meanwhile, sales at the convenience store chains inched up 2.3 percent. Sales of daily necessities posted a growth of 10.7 percent thanks to strong sales of face masks and hand sanitizers.

Sales at online retailers climbed up 20.1 percent. Food products expanded 43.0 percent, and home appliances (up 28.0 percent) and household goods (up 25.4 percent) greatly increased in sales as people spent more time at home.

By product, home appliances/culture (up 26.5 percent), kids/sports (up 1.5 percent), food (up 4.8 percent), household goods (up 14.2 percent) and global brands (up 27.6 percent) rose in sales, while fashion/accessories (down 10.2 percent) and services/others (down 1.2 percent) contracted in sales.

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