The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 29 that retail sales advanced 6.3 percent to 10.29 trillion won in May on a double-digit growth of e-commerce revenues.
Web-based sales, which accounts for about a third of the total retail sales, jumped 15.2 percent in May from a year earlier, while in-store sales advanced 2.5 percent.
The double-digit growth in online sales was led by an increased seasonal demand for home appliances and clothing. More purchases of certain types of food including seasonal fruits and imported beer amid warm weather boosted in-store sales.
In total retail sales, the home appliance category posted the highest growth at 19.2 percent, followed by food at 10 percent.
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy estimates monthly retail sales by compiling data from 26 major retailers -- 13 in-store retailers including department stores, hypermarkets, convenient stores, and “super supermarkets (SSMs)” -- as well as 13 online retailers including major online sellers and online sales intermediaries. Super supermarkets are supermarkets owned by large retailers, while online sales intermediaries are retailers operating between buyers and sellers.
The breakdown of a 15.2-percent growth in online sales showed that the revenues of nine major online sellers surged 32.1 percent, the fastest pace since January 2016, and those of four online sales intermediaries jumped 9.4 percent.
The higher sales of online sellers were driven by a 34.3-percent growth in food purchases and a 33.1-percent increase in the revenues from the fashion category.
Online sales intermediaries generated more revenues as the purchases of home appliances soared 22.1 percent amid warm weather and air pollution.
All types of in-store retailers except department stores posted growths in sales.
The revenues of three convenient store chains surged 10.5 percent on a 16.3-percent increase in food sales and a 14.5-percent growth in the number of stores.
A 4.3-percent growth in food purchases boosted the revenues of four SSM chains by 3.4 percent, while the sales of three hypermarket chains expanded 1.6 percent on a 6-percent sales increase in the food category.
Three department store chains posted a 1.9-percent decrease in revenues despite a 15.6-percent growth in home appliance sales.
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