Online retail sales rise fastest in Feb in Korea amid COVID-19 spread

2020.03.30 16:03:42

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Sales of online retailers grew sharply last month as consumers in South Korea are shopping from groceries to furniture off online malls instead of venturing out amid unfazed virus threat.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Monday, the nation’s online stores saw a 34.3 percent jump in sales in February from a year earlier, the highest gain since the ministry revised record-keeping system for retailers in June 2016.

Online grocery sales surged 92.5 percent on year in February as consumers stay at home to avoid virus infection. Sales of daily necessities including face masks and furniture at online platforms jumped 44.5 percent, children’s products 40.6 percent, books and stationery items 37.5 percent, cosmetics 37.5 percent and home appliances and electronic devices 26 percent.

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Offline stores, on the other hand, were hit hard by the virus outbreak with sales falling at the second fastest pace of 7.5 percent since June 2016.

Department stores saw their revenue drop 21.4 percent and big-box stores 10.6 percent last month from a year ago.

Convenience stores, however, posted a 7.8 percent increase in sales thanks to a 33.3 percent rise in sales of daily necessities such as face masks and pharmaceuticals. Sales of super supermarkets (SSM), small supermarket chains operated by retail conglomerates, grew 8.2 percent on brisk sales of processed foods.

Retail sales in total rose 9.1 percent on year in February, boosted by the surge in online shopping.

By Choi Mira

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