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Overall retail sales move up 12.9% in May 2021-06-28

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on June 25 that Korea’s overall retail sales in May saw a year-on-year growth of 12.9 percent.

Both offline and online sales improved, up 8.8 percent and 17.6 percent, respectively.

The Ministry releases monthly retail sales figures based on surveys of 26 major retailers. Half of them are physical retailers: three department store chains, three hypermarket chains, three convenience store chains, and four “super supermarket” (SSM) operators. The other half are online retailers.

Sales of brick-and-mortar stores increased for all types except for SSMs. The growth was attributable to a base effect from last year’s COVID-19 impacts and the recovery of consumer sentiment.

Sales at hypermarket chains rose 5.6 percent on the back of robust sales of food products (up 15.2 percent). However, miscellaneous goods (down 15.2 percent) and clothing (down 11.9 percent) saw declines.

Those at department store chains gained 19.1 percent, continuing to register double-digit growth in May. Global brands (up 36.6 percent) and household goods (up 20.4 percent) led the expansion.

Convenience stores experienced a 4.6 percent increase as beverages and processed foods (up 9.9 percent), miscellaneous goods (up 5.3 percent), and fresh foods (up 1.7 percent) advanced.

Meanwhile, SSMs went down 2.2 percent in sales. Both non-food and food products saw declines. Daily necessities (down 14.1 percent), miscellaneous goods (down 10.3 percent), fresh and prepared foods (down 3.6 percent), agricultural, fisheries, and livestock products (down 0.5 percent) and processed foods (down 0.2 percent) all contracted.

Digital retailers posted a year-on-year growth of 17.6 percent. Online rentals for electronic devices and other daily products, food delivery services, and online shopping greatly expanded.

Services/others jumped 61.1 percent due to increased demand for home appliance rentals, food deliveries, and e-coupons. Food products (up 32.9 percent), cosmetics (up 19.4 percent), and home appliances (up 10.2 percent) also increased.

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