Retail in Asia

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South Korea’s retail sales up 14.4 percent in October

Retail sales in South Korea surged 14.4 percent in October from a year earlier as more consumers opened their wallets amid various promotional events and cold weather, the industry ministry said.

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The combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers reached KRW 13.6 trillion (US$11.41 billion) in September, compared with KRW 12.01 trillion (US$10.16 billion) a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Sales from offline stores rose 10 percent on-year in October, with online retail platforms logging a 19.7 percent on-year sales increase, according to the data.

Department stores saw their sales jump 21 percent on the back of solid demand for winter goods and golf equipment. Sales of luxury goods, sporting and kids items advanced 39.4 percent and 19.6 percent, respectively, the ministry said.

Sales of imported luxury products have been rising sharply due to so-called revenge shopping, which refers to consumers seeking comfort by purchasing goods while social activities and travel are restricted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Discount chain stores also saw their sales go up 1.4 percent, ending a two-month losing streak, as major chains, including E-mart and Lotte Mart, held consumption-boosting sales events last month, according to the industry.

Sales of convenience stores also rose 9 percent on the back of strong demand for smaller packages of food.

But smaller supermarkets saw their sales decrease 1.6 percent last month, it added.

On online platforms, sales of the service sector jumped 46.1 percent on the back of the popularity of food delivery services and growing demand for travel packages ahead of eased social distancing restrictions.

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On 1st November, South Korea began implementing the “living with COVID-19” scheme, which calls for the relaxation of months-long strict antivirus rules for people’s gradual return to pre-pandemic life.

Sales of groceries and home appliances from the online platforms also went up 25.3 percent and 22.7 percent, respectively, data showed.

(Source: Korea Herald)