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Overall retail sales in Korea increase 8.5% in September 2020-10-26

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on October 26 that Korea’s overall retail sales in September rose 8.5 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sales of both offline and online retailers improved 1.0 percent and 20.0 percent, respectively.

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.

For brick-and-mortar stores, September sales went up 1.0 percent because the demand for gift sets moved from August to September this year due to later than usual Chuseok holidays.

Sales at convenient stores increased 2.3 percent. Cigarettes and other products (up 4.9 percent) as well as beverages and processed foods (up 2.4 percent) led to the expansion.

SSM operators experienced a sales increase of 4.6 percent. Because the Chuseok holidays fell in October this year, food sales went up significantly: agricultural products and fisheries (up 9.9 percent), fresh and prepared food (up 5.5 percent), and processed food (up 3.9 percent).

Hypermarket chains moved up 5.3 percent in sales. Food products expanded 14.9 percent thanks to increased sales of Chuseok gift sets.

Meanwhile, department store chains experienced a sales decline of 6.2 percent. Outdoor activities and travels decreased due to social distancing guidelines, and women’s casual (down 37.4 percent), women’s suits (down 30.6 percent), and miscellaneous goods (down 28.9 percent) contracted.

Sales at web-based retailers jumped 20.0 percent. Sales at the following categories saw improvement on the back of stronger demand for daily necessities: food products (up 60.2 percent), home appliances (up 26.0 percent) and household goods (up 14.7 percent).

By product, home appliances/culture (up 22.3 percent), food (up 18.5 percent), household goods (up 8.6 percent) and global brands (up 15.3 percent) rose in sales, while fashion/accessories (down 14.9 percent), kids/sports (down 1.5 percent), and services/others (down 4.1 percent) contracted in sales.

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