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October retail sales in Korea expand 8.4% 2020-11-24

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on November 23 that Korea’s overall retail sales in October went up 8.4 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sales of offline and online retailers improved 2.1 percent and 17.1 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 “super supermarket” (SSM) operators. The other half are online retailers.

Offline stores implemented various discount events which led to a 2.1 percent increase in October sales. All store types saw growth except for SSM operators.

Sales at convenient stores moved up 2.9 percent. Cigarettes and other products (up 4.0 percent) and beverages and processed foods (up 3.8 percent) contributed to the increase in convenient store sales.

Department store chains experienced a sales growth of 4.2 percent. Kids/sports (up 10.2 percent) and household goods (up 24.1 percent) went up due to discount events in outdoor clothing, furniture, and home appliances.

Sales at hypermarket chains increased 2.3 percent on the back of strong home appliances/culture (up 22.2 percent) sales.

Meanwhile, those at SSMs fell 12.4 percent because customers took advantage of huge sales events at department stores and hypermarkets instead. Agricultural products and fisheries (down 14.0 percent), fresh and prepared foods (down 10.4 percent), and processed foods (down 10.4 percent) all experienced declines.

Sales at online retailers jumped 17.1 percent. Online purchasing trends amid pandemic continued and seasonal discount events led to a stronger demand for food products (up 42.1 percent), home appliances (up 27.9 percent), and household goods (up 18.6 percent). However, services/others contracted 18.1 percent.

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