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Korea’s retail sales rise 3.9 percent in April 2020-06-01
The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 29 that Korea’s retail sales in April rose 3.9 percent compared to the same period last year.

In particular, online retail sales jumped 16.9 percent. Brick-and-mortar sales, on the other hand, decreased 5.5 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 5.5 percent as social distancing practices continued amid the coronavirus pandemic. Reduced store visits led to the decline in all types of offline retailers.

Sales at the convenience store chains edged down 1.9 percent as outdoor activities continued to decrease. Sales of processed foods (down 3.4 percent) and instant foods (down 15.6 percent) led to the decline.

SSM operators saw a sales decline of 2.6 percent. Sales of agricultural, fishery, and livestock products (down 3.4 percent) fell because the price of imported fruits went up due to the coronavirus outbreak.

The department store chains saw a 14.8 percent reduction in sales. Despite improvement in the sales of home appliances (up 9.6 percent) due to the refund program for the purchases of high energy-efficiency products, sales of clothing such as kids/sports (down 19.2 percent) and women’s suits (down 34.0 percent) dropped greatly.

Sales at the hypermarket chains decreased 1.0 percent as sales of clothing (down 33.6 percent) and miscellaneous goods (down 34.8 percent) went down.

Sales at online retailers posted a growth of 16.9 percent, continuing on an upward trend in online purchases resulting from COVID-19. Food products (up 56.4 percent) and household goods (up 23.9 percent) advanced significantly, while fashion/clothing (down 8.8 percent) and services/others (down 21.3 percent) fell because the pandemic discouraged people from enjoying outdoor activities and traveling.

By product, home appliances/culture (up 21.3 percent), kids/sports (up 1.0 percent), food (up 10.2 percent), household goods (12.1 percent) and global brands (up 8.2 percent) improved while fashion/accessories (down 19.2 percent) and services/others (down 8.2 percent) shrank.

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