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Korea’s April retail sales rise 13.7% 2021-05-27

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy announced on May 27 that Korea’s retail industry saw a 13.7 percent improvement in sales in April compared to the same period last year.

Both offline and online retailers saw growth, up 11.2 percent and 16.5 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.

For offline retailers, sales at department stores and convenience stores posted growth as Korea’s consumer sentiment picked up amid extended COVID-19 pandemic.

Sales at department store chains expanded 34.5 percent on the back of global brands (up 57.5 percent) and fashion-related items such as women’s suits (up 30.4 percent) and men’s clothing (up 31.9 percent).

Those at convenience stores gained 11.6 percent as beverages and processed foods (up 17.7 percent), daily necessities (up 11.9 percent), miscellaneous goods (up 10.2 percent), and fresh foods (up 7.7 percent) advanced.

Meanwhile, hypermarket chains experienced a 2.8 percent decline in sales. Clothing (up 18.1 percent) and sports (up 7.3 percent) posted growth, but household goods (down 10.3 percent) and home appliances/culture (down 4.8 percent) saw declines.

Sales at SSMs fell 11.7 percent. Both food and non-food products contracted. Daily necessities (down 16.3 percent), miscellaneous goods (down 10.1 percent), fresh and prepared foods (down 13.2 percent), agricultural, fisheries, and livestock products (down 11.0 percent) and processed foods (down 10.9 percent) all went down.

For web-based retailers, sales moved up 16.5 percent thanks to the continued expansion of online rental and delivery services.

Services/others jumped 62.6 percent due to increased demand for home appliance rentals, food deliveries, and e-coupons. Items related to outdoor activities such as fashion/clothing (up 19.9 percent) and cosmetic products (up 19.8 percent) moved up. Food products (up 18.9 percent) and home appliances (up 8.3 percent) went up as well.

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