Holidays boost department-store sales

Department-store sales in South Korea rose this month with several family-oriented holidays and special occasions, retail industry data shows.

Children’s Day, which falls every May 5, a substitute day off and May 8 Parents’ Day all contributed to more consumption at department stores. Plus Buddha’s Birthday, which is a national holiday and falls on a Tuesday, created a four-day break for some workers.

In the first 20 days of this month, sales at upper-end department stores like Hyundai, Lotte and Shinsegae all rose, with some reporting close to double-digit gains compared with the year before.

Shinsegae says its sales shot up 9.9 per cent, compared to a 1.5 per cent contraction for May last year. Sales of men’s and women’s clothing rose 16.1 and 12.6 per cent respectively, while demand for sports products rose 12.6 per cent. It said demand for designer goods soared 26 per cent.

Hyundai says it sold 6.1 per cent more goods, with Lotte trailing with a gain of 5.3 per cent.

Discount store chain E-Mart says sales for April and May were down slightly with the demand for both fresh and processed food falling last month.

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