[Photo by Kim Ho-young]
Duty-free sales in South Korea grew at the fastest pace in three years in April, another sign of a recovery in consumption havoc from the Covid-19 crisis.
Sales at duty-free outlets jumped 51.6 percent on year in April, showed the government statistics data on Tuesday. The annual growth pace is the fastest since May 2018 when it grew 54.6 percent.
Bag and shoes sales surged 108.0 percent from a year earlier, while cosmetics sales rose 37.9 percent and others 173.0 percent.
April was the best sales month since the first Covid-19 wave of early 2020.
However, the sales value at duty-free products still remained lower than the pre-pandemic level as international travelers are yet absent.
The country’s duty-free sales amounted to 1.6 trillion won ($1.4 billion) in April, according to the Korea Duty Free Association. The sales figure is the largest since January 2020 that recorded 2 trillion won, but below the pre-pandemic average. The duty-free sales index came to 217.7 in April, far below 314.3 reading in December 2019.
The jump in April’s tax-free sales goes against sluggish number a year ago.
“Still, the latest data could be regarded as a sign of recovery in private consumption,” said an official at the statistics office.
In evidence of improving spending, demand for semi-durable goods like clothes as well as durable goods like cars and home appliance has increased.
The index for durable goods sales recorded 111.3 in April, exceeding the pre-crisis level of 105.0 marked in December 2019. The sales indicator for non-durable goods also rebounded to 115.0, versus 115.7 recorded in December 2019.
Retail sales index, a key indicator of consumer sentiment reached 120.5 in April, the best since the statistics bureau’s recording began in 1995.
Service sector’s production index also hit the best since January 2001 when recording began. That for wholesale/retail sector rose 9.3 percent on year, the fastest yearly growth since October 2007.
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]