Retail in Asia


South Korea retail sales climb 4.7 percent in February

Korea retail

South Korea retail sales in February rose 4.7 percent year-on-year to 12.19 trillion won (US$9.99 billion), up from 11.6 trillion won a year earlier, on the back of a double-digit surge in online retail sales, which offset a dip in physical retail sales, according to the country’s Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

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For the month of February, online sales rose 14.2 percent, as contactless spending culture continued to flourish, while sales at brick-and-mortar stores declined by 3.8 percent, as shoppers were restrained from outdoor activities from the spread of the Omicron variant, said the Ministry.

Department stores sales were up 9.3 percent, while convenience store sales rose 7.4 percent, but the steeper decline of hypermarkets, down 24 percent, and ‘super supermarkets’, down 8.4 percent, dragged down overall offline sales growth for the month. Hypermarkets also experienced a deep dive in sales as the holiday season did not line up with that of the previous year, according to Ministry data.

Sales moved up across all categories for February. Home appliances and electronics gained 17 percent, and books and stationery sales were up 2.5 percent, rebounding after faltering in January.

Food products rose 9.8 percent, on the back of robust sales in fresh products, foods, and beverages, which benefited from contactless shopping trends. In particular, demand for TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and large home appliances showed recovery, and upcoming new school semesters boosted sales of laptops and computers, the Ministry concluded.

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The Ministry releases monthly retail sales figures based on surveys of 25 major retailers: 13 of them are physical retailers — three department store chains, three hypermarket chains, three convenience store chains, and four ‘super supermarket’ operators – while the remaining 12 are online retailers.