Jan 30, 2017
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South Korean department store sales rebound in December, reversing two declining years

Jan 30, 2017

Sales at South Korea's department stores in December rebounded from November on year-end gift purchases, trade ministry data showed on Monday, while sales for the whole year ended on a positive note, reversing two years of decline.

Seoul - WikiCommons

Combined sales last month at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae Co rose 3.3 percent on-year, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said, bouncing from a 2.8 percent decline in November.

Nearly all product categories saw rises in sales, which were led by offshore brand items and food products.

Retail data has shown consumption has not fallen markedly since an influence-peddling scandal involving President Park Geun-hye engulfed the country late last year, although consumer sentiment is at its worst in nearly eight years.

The central bank governor, Lee Ju-yeol, said earlier this month private consumption is likely to head down in 2017 due to uncertainties at home and abroad, hampering overall growth.

Discount store sales, meanwhile, slipped 1.9 percent in December over a year earlier, the same trade ministry data showed, although not as bad as November's 6.1 percent decline.

In 2016, department store sales rose 3.3 percent, breaking two years of falls and rebounding from a 1.2 percent fall in 2015. Demand for luxury goods and large household appliances such as televisions and refrigerators bolstered sales, the ministry said.

Discount store sales fell 1.4 percent in 2016, declining for a fifth straight year, the data said, as more consumers bought food items online from a widening variety of vendors.

In 2015, discount store sales dropped 2.1 percent.


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