SEOUL, Dec. 30 (Korea Bizwire) — Retail sales in South Korea rose 9.6 percent in November from a year earlier on the back of an annual nationwide shopping event and eased antivirus restrictions, the industry ministry said Thursday.
The combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers reached 13.66 trillion won (US$11.54 billion) last month, up from 12.41 trillion won a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The growth came as the country held the annual Korea Sale FESTA — the Korean equivalent of Black Friday — for 15 days from Nov. 1, where more than 2,000 companies had offered big bargains both online and in stores.
Sales from offline stores rose 4.6 percent on-year in November, with online retail platforms logging a 14.8 percent on-year sales increase.
Sales from online platforms grew 2.3 percentage points to account for 51.4 percent of the total, the data showed.
By category, luxury goods logged the largest on-year sales increase of 32.9 percent, followed by service and other goods rising 19.7 percent and home appliances and cultural items advancing 9.3 percent, according to the data.
Department stores saw their sales jump 18.3 percent as they were able to attract more customers thanks to various shopping events and the eased social distancing rules under the “living with the COVID-19″ scheme which began on Nov. 1.
Sales of convenience stores rose 6.7 percent on the back of strong demand for smaller packages of food and the growth in the number of their outlets.
But sales of discount chain stores, such as E-mart and Lotte Mart, marked a 10.3 percent fall last month as more people went out for dining and other services amid the new antivirus campaign.
Smaller supermarkets also saw their sales decrease 6.3 percent on-year, according to the ministry.
On online platforms, sales of the service sector jumped 36.4 percent on the back of the popularity of food delivery services and growing demand for travel packages.
Demand for food grew 19.9 percent, and sales of electronic goods and other home appliances climbed 14.6 percent thanks to the nationwide shopping event, the ministry said.
On Nov. 1, the government began implementing the new COVID-19 scheme, which calls for the relaxation of monthslong strict antivirus rules for people’s gradual return to pre-pandemic life.
But it reimposed a set of toughened rules in mid-December in the wake of a drastic surge in COVID-19 cases and the spread of the omicron variant.