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Korea’s retail sales in November rise 6.3% in November 2020-12-28

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on December 24 that Korea’s overall retail sales in November rose 6.3 percent compared to the same period last year.

Sales of physical retailers edged down 2.4 percent, while those of online retailers expanded 17.0 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 “super supermarket” (SSM) operators. The other half are online retailers.

Offline stores saw a growth in sales at the beginning of the month due to the Korea Sale Festa, but the sales plunged in the second half due to the COVID-19 surge.

Sales at convenient stores increased 3.3 percent. Beverages and processed foods (up 3.8 percent) led to the growth in convenient store sales.

Meanwhile, SSM operators experienced a sales decline of 9.8 percent because of the fall in agricultural products and fisheries (down 10.7 percent), fresh and prepared food (down 6.5 percent), and processed foods (down 7.9 percent).

Sales at department store chains contracted 4.3 percent. Women’s casual apparel (down 25.2 percent), miscellaneous goods (down 24.8 percent), and men’s clothing (down 12.1 percent) saw declines.

Those at hypermarket chains went down 2.3 percent. The resurgence of COVID-19 cases led to reduced outdoor activities, and clothing (down 23.7 percent), miscellaneous goods (down 31.1 percent), and sports (down 12.9 percent) lost in sales.

Online retailers, on the other hand, gained 17.0 percent. The Korea Sale Festa and the rise in virus cases led to a stronger demand for food products (up 46.4 percent), home appliances (up 25.6 percent), and household goods (up 18.6 percent). However, services/others and fashion/clothing contracted 9.8 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.


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