Retail sales in S. Korea rise 3 pct in October

SEOUL-- Retail sales in South Korea increased 3 percent in October from a year earlier, led by strong demand for products sold through online malls and convenience stores, government data showed Wednesday.

The combined sales of 26 online and offline retailers stood at 10.1 trillion won (US$9.3 billion) last month, up from 9.8 trillion won a year ago, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Sales of 13 offline retailers advanced 2.5 percent last month, as convenience stores enjoyed popularity with a wide range of items and services and people bought gift packages for the Chuseok holiday season at discount chains.

Convenience stores reported 10.3 percent gains in sales, and discount chains' sales rose 5.3 percent, while hypermarket chains and department stores backtracked 7.7 percent and 3.7 percent, respectively.

Among offline outlets, convenience stores showed the highest growth, as the rising number of single households meant more people bought food and other daily necessities from neighborhood stores, which have rapidly increased over the past few years.

Food sales at convenience stores rose 12.8 percent, with strong demand for ready-made food and imported beer, the data showed.

Increased numbers of people buying food and clothes via the Internet caused sales of 13 major online stores and marketplaces to gain 4.2 percent on-year last month.

Online marketplaces posted sluggish sales, as orders dropped due to a suspension of the parcel delivery service during the holiday that fell on the first week of October.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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