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Korean retail industry sees sales growth of 6.6% in January 2020-02-28
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on February 28 that overall retail sales in Korea improved 6.6 percent from a year earlier. Sales at both web-based retailers and brick-and-mortar stores increased, 10.2 percent and 4.1 percent, respectively.

These findings are based on surveys of 26 major retailers. Half of them are offline retailers: three department store chains, three hypermarket chains, three convenience store chains, and four super supermarket (SSM) operators. The other half are online retailers. Previously, nine major online sellers and four online shopping intermediaries were categorized separately. However, as many online shopping malls are engaged in online sales and online shopping intermediation services at the same time, the two are presented under the category “online retailers” from the January retail industry data.

All types of offline retailers posted a sales growth except for the SSMs. The improvement in offline sales resulted from the earlier-than-usual Seollal holidays that fell at the end of January.

Sales at the convenience stores went up 6.0 percent as demand grew for gift sets and gift certificates for the Lunar New Year holidays. Sales of daily necessities also increased 17.8% due to the growth in sales of protective masks with the COVID-19 outbreak.

The department stores experienced a sales increase of 2.5 percent. Sales of global brands jumped 22.9 percent due to the boost in sales of S/S season new products and food products also posted growth of 2.5 percent on the back of sales of gift sets.

At the hypermarkets, sales rose 6.2 percent mostly because of enhanced sales of food products (up 7.0 percent), home appliances (up 10.5 percent) and household goods (up 6.3 percent).

Meanwhile, sales at the SSMs went down 6.7 percent due to the contraction of promotion activities for both food (down 6.7 percent) and non-food (down 7.1 percent) products compared to last year.

Online retailers gained 10.2 percent as demand saw growth for food products (up 18.9 percent) and services/others (up 21.8 percent) due to increased sales of holiday gift sets and certificates. Although the spread of the COVID-19 has led to the contraction in sales related to outdoor activities such as sports items (down 3.0 percent) and fashion/apparel (down 1.0 percent), increased demand for sanitary products such as protective masks led to improvement in sales of household goods (up 10.0 percent).

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