Retail in Asia


South Korea retail sales increased 10 percent in July

South Korea retail sales in July gained 9.7 percent year-on-year, on the back of an easing in Covid-19 restrictions and an increase in outdoor activities across the country, according to data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on August 30.

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Total retail revenues for the month of July reached KRW 14.17 trillion (USD 10.48 billion), according to sales data taken from 25 major offline and online retailers in South Korea, compared with KRW 12.9 trillion a year earlier, the ministry revealed.

For July, physical store sales rose 12.1 percent, with department stores witnessing a sales surge 31.6 percent over last year. Demand for luxury goods, clothing and other fashion items logged solid growth, according to the data, while sales of convenience stores also went up 10.4 percent in July, on the back of the popularity of food packages and other daily items.

Sales of discount chain stores, such as E-mart and Lotte Mart, inched forward 0.2 percent, amid dropping demand for home appliances, while sales at smaller supermarkets fell 3.6 percent for the month.

Meanwhile, online sales, which accounted for 47.63 percent of the total sales in July, jumped 7.3 percent, thanks to the continued spread of the contactless shopping trend, brought about thanks to the prolonged pandemic.

Specifically, online cosmetics sales surged 14 percent, as people resumed outdoor activities. Sales of foodstuff and beverages also grew 14.7 percent, while those of home appliances and other electronic devices logged a fall, the data showed.

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The lift is the fifth consecutive monthly rise in retail sales in South Korea, signalling a sense of economic recovery in the nation. 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.