SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – South Korea’s leading department stores saw their sales of high-priced padded jackets and other premium foreign clothing brands jump in November despite a drop in overall consumption, industry data showed Monday.
Industry leader Lotte Department Store said its sales of imported premium bubble jackets spiked 45 percent last month from a year earlier. Shipments of other pricey clothing items also posted solid growth.
Despite a 1.5 percent fall in overall sales, Hyundai Department Store saw November sales of premium padded jackets and fur coats climb 35 percent and 14 percent from the previous year, respectively. Sales of imported apparel, including brand-name products, gained 11.3 percent.
Shinsegae Department Store said its sale of high-priced padded jackets skyrocketed 48 percent in November from a year earlier, with sales of sporting goods increasing 28 percent.
Industry watchers said that sales of premium padded jackets jumped in November ahead of the full-fledged start of winter, although local consumers tended to delay purchases of luxury goods in the face of a prolonged economic slump.
The surge in sales of premium padded jackets came amid falling sales of home electronics and other durable goods.
Hyundai Department Store saw sales of large home appliances drop 5 percent in November from a year earlier, despite the usual high demand for kimchi fridges. Other department stores also reported a combined 11.3 percent drop in home appliance sales.
In November, South Koreans generally make kimchi, a traditional Korean dish made of cabbage and chili pepper paste.
Analysts predicted the overall weakness in consumer spending to continue down the road due to a protracted economic slowdown, though some high-priced products may enjoy brisk sales.
“If the economy worsens, polarization of consumption could take place, depending on income brackets and products,” said Kim Chun-ku, an analyst at Hyundai Research Institute. “Private consumption is expected to last for the time being, given the nation’s political uncertainty and its possible impact on employment, wages and consumer prices.”