Retail in Asia


Korea retail sales up 7 percent in October, duty-free footfall on the rise

South Korea retail sales lifted 7.3 percent in October, as more people ventured outdoors and demand for various services grew, on the back of eased Covid-19 restrictions.

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According to data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers came to KRW 14.66 trillion (USD 10.95 billion) last month, compared with KRW 13.7 trillion a year earlier.

Sales from offline stores rose 6.4 percent in O, as demand for fashion items, and goods for children and sporting goods increased, which offset a fall in home appliance sales.

By offline store type, department stores saw sales surge 8 percent and convenience stores lifted 11.2 percent last month. However, sales at discount chain stores, such as E-mart and Lotte Mart, dipped 0.5 percent, hindered by lower demand for everyday items and home appliances.

Sales from online platforms jumped 8.2 percent to KRW 7.06 trillion last month, thanks to the continued uptake of contactless shopping, which took-off amid the ongoing pandemic.

Among categories, tourism and other services witnessed 32.2 percent rise in their sales, and demand for foodstuff rose 15.6 percent on-year.

The growth came as restrictions for international travellers over the pandemic have further eased and outdoor activities increased amid the mild weather, officials said.

According to the Korea Duty Free Shop Association, the number of customers using domestic duty-free shops in October was 1,090,078, again reaching the 1-million mark, a milestone also seen in the last two months. Duty-free sales registered at KRW 1.8 trillion, approaching the level of March 2020, when the World Health Organization (WHO) first declared Covid-19 as global pandemic.

SEE ALSO: South Korea retail sales up 7.5 percent in September

“In October, the number of domestic tourists traveling to Japan has increased due to Japan’s visa-free entry, and the number of foreign tourists from Japan and Southeast Asia has increased, filling the void of Chinese customers,” said an official from Lotte Duty Free.