SEOUL, Aug. 26 (Korea Bizwire) — Retail sales in South Korea advanced 13 percent in July from a year earlier, data showed Thursday, on the back of strong demand for food delivery services amid the prolonged social distancing measures.
The combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers reached 12.9 trillion won (US$11 billion) last month, compared with 11.4 trillion won tallied in the previous year, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
Sales from offline stores moved up 7 percent on-year in July, as consumers purchased more home electronics amid the scorching summer heat. South Koreans also bought more daily necessities as they spent more time at home.
Supermarkets saw their sales advance 7.3 percent as people bought more food and sports equipment.
For department stores, sales moved up 7.8 percent on the strong demand for imported luxury items and golf-related products. The ministry, however, said the growing concerns over cluster infections from some stores weighed down the overall growth.
Sales from convenient stores rose 7 percent as the summer heat led to stronger demand for beverages.
On the back of the soaring demand for food delivery services, sales from the online segment jumped a whopping 20.2 percent, leading the overall gains.
Local consumers also purchased more home electronics, food and cosmetic products online, as some refrained from visiting offline shops.
Amid the growing concerns over the more contagious delta strain, health authorities adopted strict social distancing rules in July, banning gatherings of more than four people. Restaurants and cafes also could not have dine-in customers after 10 p.m.
With no signs of a significant letup in COVID-19 cases, the curfew was adjusted to 9 p.m. this week.
South Korea reported 1,882 additional COVID-19 cases Thursday, raising the total caseload to 243,317.