South Korea’s retail sales surge on outdoor activities, shopping events

(Source: Korea Bizwire)

Retail sales in South Korea rose 4 per cent on-year in April on the back of people’s growing outdoor activities and various promotional events by major discount stores, the industry ministry said Tuesday.

The combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers came to US$10.67 billion last month, compared with $10.2 billion a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The on-year increase came as more people turned to outdoor activities in spring amid the stabilized virus situation and the government’s lifting of antivirus curbs.

In March, the government removed the mask mandate on public transportation around two months after the removal of mask-wearing rules for most indoor spaces in a major step toward the return to pre-pandemic normalcy.

Major discount stores held large-scale promotional events, which also helped boost their sales, the ministry added.

Sales of offline retailers advanced 4.8 per cent on-year to $5.5 billion in March, as demand for food jumped 8.5 per cent on-year, and that of fashion items and luxury goods grew 2.8 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively.

But sales of electronics at offline shops and other housing items fell 4.7 per cent and 2.4 per cent, respectively, from a year earlier, the data showed.

Department stores saw their sales go up 2.5 per cent, and sales at discount chain stores, such as E-Mart and Lotte Mart, climbed 3.3 per cent on-year.

Convenience stores enjoyed an 8.9 per cent sales growth thanks to strong demand for smaller food packages and everyday items.

Sales of smaller supermarkets also expanded 3.7 per cent on-year last month, the data showed.

Online platforms saw their sales advance 3.2 per cent to $5.1 billion won in April on growing demand for ready-to-eat meals and other daily items.

Online platforms accounted for 48.3 per cent of total sales in April, down from 48.7 per cent the previous year, the ministry said.

This story was originally published by Yonhap, via Korea Bizwire.

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