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Korea's retail sales grow 5.9% in July 2023-08-30

The Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy (MOTIE) announced on August 29 that Korea’s retail sales in July achieved an overall growth of 5.9 percent, year-on-year.

Offline and online sales both expanded, by 3.9 percent and 8.1 percent, respectively, with July being the first summer holidays season since complete lifting of social distancing.

MOTIE releases monthly retail sales figures based on surveys of 25 major retailers. Thirteen 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 remaining twelve are online retailers.

For physical stores, inflation reduced sales in home appliances/culture and kids/sports, but food products and services/other increased due to summer holidays, resulting in overall gain. Online sales saw robust demand for daily necessities, and food products and living/home rose sharply on the backs of the summer holiday season.

Sales at hypermarket chains saw growth in food products (up 6.6 percent), but sports (down 10.5 percent), miscellaneous (down 5.8 percent), home appliances/culture (down 4.7 percent) and such non-food items sank, resulting in an overall growth of 2.6 percent.

Department store chains experienced sales growth in food products (up 6.6 percent) and women’s casual (up 4.0 percent), but men’s clothing (down 4.0 percent), women’s suits (down 2.8 percent) and miscellaneous (down 2.2 percent) dropped, leading to an overall sales growth of 2.1 percent.

Convenience stores saw miscellaneous goods (up 16.5 percent), instant food products (11.1 percent) and processed food products (up 6.3 percent) soar, thanks to close proximity, small purchase shopping trends, and various promotion events, resulting in an overall growth of 6.6 percent.

Sales of SSM operators saw a slide in daily necessities (down 3.8 percent), but processed food products (up 8.6 percent) and fresh/cooked food products (up 4.1 percent) climbed in sales, achieving 4.6 percent growth overall.

For online retail sales, demand surged for cosmetic products (up 17.4 percent) and food products (up 22.1 percent), boosting overall sales by 8.1 percent.

Fashion/clothing (down 7.5 percent), sports (down 10.4 percent) and services/other (down 3.9 percent) slowed in sales as outdoor activities decreased owing to heat and rainy season.