Retail sales in South Korea increased 7.5 percent year-on-year for the month of September, as more people ventured outdoors amid eased antivirus curbs, data showed on October 31.
According to data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers in South Korea came to 14.21 trillion won (USD 9.98 billion) last month, compared with 13.2 trillion won a year earlier.
Physical store sales rose 6 percent in September, on solid demand for luxury goods, fashion items and sporting goods, said the ministry. Specifically, department stores saw their sales surge 8.5 percent and sales of convenience stores went up 10.6 percent for the month. However, sales at discount chain stores, such as E-mart and Lotte Mart, fell 0.3 percent, on-on soft demand for everyday items and home appliances, while smaller supermarkets also saw their sales dip 0.1 percent.
Online sales, which accounted for 46.9 percent of the total sales in September, increased 9.1 percent to reach 6.67 trillion won, thanks to the continued spread of the contactless shopping trend, introduced by the pandemic, the ministry said.
Tourism and other services saw a sales jump of 30.8 percent, as restrictions for international travellers eased further post Covid-19 pandemic
Cosmetics and food online platforms also rose 12.5 percent and 9.2 percent, respectively, the data showed.
The high single-digit retail sales increase marked the seventh consecutive month of growth in South Korea, despite growth slowing down on last month’s yearly growth of 15.4 percent. Prior to that, Korean retail sales grew 9.7 percent in July, signalling a sense of economic recovery in the nation in the last few months. However, the country has experienced a new virus wave since late July following several months of relief after the worst infections the country has faced.