[Photo by Lee Seung-hwan]
Department sales surged 34 percent on year in February to suggest pent-up spending of the richer in South Korea.
According to the data from Statistics Korea on Monday, department store sales gained 33.5 percent in Feb against a year-ago period in the biggest year-on-year surge since the data became available in 1995.
Lunar New Year’s holiday in early February and the opening of Seoul’s biggest department store The Hyundai Seoul triggered pent-up demand after protracted social distancing measures, the statistics agency noted.
The seasonally adjusted retail sales index, which plunged to 105.7 in Feb last year when the first wave of Covid-19 outbreak hit the country, bounced back to pre-pandemic levels at 115. 2.
The rise in retail sales index was driven by increased purchases of cars, home appliances and furniture. The sales index of semi durable goods like clothes, shoes and bags stood at 98.0 versus 105.0 a year ago. The sales index of nondurables was also lower than pre-pandemic levels partly due to sluggish cosmetics sales at duty-free shops.
Except for department stores and online shopping malls, overall offline retail sales remained in the doldrums.
By Lee Soo-min
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