SEOUL, May 30 (Korea Bizwire) — Retail sales in South Korea rose 4 percent on-year in April on the back of people’s growing outdoor activities and various promotional events by major discount stores, the industry ministry said Tuesday.
The combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers came to 14.08 trillion won (US$10.67 billion) last month, compared with 13.54 trillion won a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The on-year increase came as more people turned to outdoor activities in spring amid the stabilized virus situation and the government’s lifting of antivirus curbs.
In March, the government removed the mask mandate on public transportation around two months after the removal of mask-wearing rules for most indoor spaces in a major step toward the return to pre-pandemic normalcy.
Major discount stores held large-scale promotional events, which also helped boost their sales, the ministry added.
Sales of offline retailers advanced 4.8 percent on-year to 7.28 trillion won in March, as demand for food jumped 8.5 percent on-year, and that of fashion items and luxury goods grew 2.8 percent and 4.5 percent, respectively.
But sales of electronics at offline shops and other housing items fell 4.7 percent and 2.4 percent, respectively, from a year earlier, the data showed.
Department stores saw their sales go up 2.5 percent, and sales at discount chain stores, such as E-Mart and Lotte Mart, climbed 3.3 percent on-year.
Convenience stores enjoyed an 8.9 percent sales growth thanks to strong demand for smaller food packages and everyday items.
Sales of smaller supermarkets also expanded 3.7 percent on-year last month, the data showed.
Online platforms saw their sales advance 3.2 percent to 6.8 trillion won in April on growing demand for ready-to-eat meals and other daily items.
Online platforms accounted for 48.3 percent of total sales in April, down from 48.7 percent the previous year, the ministry said.