Korean retailers’ business sentiment remains negative for a year

2019.04.17 14:04:09

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Outlook for retail business in Korea remains bleak with pessimism deepening over a year.

According to the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday, the retail business survey index (RBSI) based on a survey of 1,000 retailers came to 91 for the April-June period, down from 92 in the previous quarter. The figure has been skidding since 98 in the second quarter last year.

The index reflects retailers’ business expectations for the coming quarter. A reading below 100 indicates that there are more pessimists than optimists, and vice versa for reading above 100.

The brick-and-mortar businesses were gloomier than online retailers. The sub-indices for convenience store sector came to 77, supermarket 82, department store 89, and big box store 92. Home shopping operators were neutral at 100 while online shopping mall operators were optimistic with index standing at 103.

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The home shopping business also has turned more skeptical about growth with their index dipping 10 points from the last quarter. The reading for online shopping mall operators was unchanged from three months earlier although their individual business performance remained weak amid cutthroat competition.

The index for department store sector dropped 5 points compared to three months earlier and that of big box store was down 2 points. Market experts attributed the fall to the growth of one-person households and fast-expanding online stores on top of economic slowdown.

The reading for convenience store improved by 6 points from the previous quarter and that of supermarket was up 2 points on quarter. A law that restricts license to new openings if a similar store is nearby improved business prospects for convenience stores and small grocery shops.

By Han Ye-kyung and Cho Jeehyun

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