The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on September 29 that Korea’s retail sales in August posted year-on-year growth of 6.4 percent.
Both physical and online retailers experienced growth in sales, up 2.5 percent and 11.1 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 at offline stores went up 2.5 percent compared to the same period last year. While sales at hypermarkets and SSMs contracted due to heightened social distancing restrictions, department store chains saw stronger demand for items of kids/sports, household goods, and global brands.
Hypermarket chains experienced a 5.5 percent decline in sales. Sales of all items went down except for food products (up 0.4 percent). Among the item categories that saw noticeable decreases in sales were miscellaneous goods (down 33.2 percent), clothing (down 19.1 percent), and household goods (down 16.1 percent).
Sales at SSMs dipped 5.3 percent amid tougher COVID-19 restrictions. Daily necessities (down 18.9 percent) and fresh and prepared foods (down 7.2 percent) decreased in sales.
Meanwhile, sales at department store chains increased 13.0 percent. Household goods (up 25.6 percent), kids/sports (up 24.8 percent), and global brands (up 18.6 percent) saw growth, while women’s casual wear (down 6.8 percent) and miscellaneous goods (down 2.6 percent) fell.
Those at convenience store chains moved up 4.5 percent. Strong seasonal demand for beverages and processed foods (up 9.1 percent) in the hot weather contributed to the rise.
Online retail sales improved 11.1 percent as the demand for food deliveries and online shopping continued to grow.
Food products (up 28.2 percent), services/others (up 17.0 percent), cosmetics (up 20.3 percent), sports (up 5.1 percent), and home appliances (up 4.6 percent) advanced.