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Retail sales up 14.4% in October on sales events, cold weather

People look around winter clothes at a department store in Seoul on Nov. 22, 2021, as the mercury is forecast to hit below zero in the coming days. (Yonhap)
People look around winter clothes at a department store in Seoul on Nov. 22, 2021, as the mercury is forecast to hit below zero in the coming days. (Yonhap)
Retail sales in South Korea surged 14.4 percent in October from a year earlier as more consumers opened their wallets amid various promotional events and cold weather, the industry ministry said Monday.

The combined sales of 25 major offline and online retailers reached 13.6 trillion won ($11.41 billion) last month, compared with 12.01 trillion won a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

Sales from offline stores rose 10 percent on-year in October, with online retail platforms logging a 19.7 percent on-year sales increase, according to the data.

Department stores saw their sales jump 21 percent on the back of solid demand for winter goods and golf equipment. Their sales of luxury goods, and sporting and kids items advanced 39.4 percent and 19.6 percent, respectively, the ministry said.

Sales of imported luxury products have been rising sharply amid the new coronavirus due to so-called revenge shopping, which refers to consumers seeking comfort by purchasing goods while social activities and travel are restricted amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Discount chain stores also saw their sales go up 1.4 percent, ending a two-month losing streak, as major chains, including E-mart and Lotte Mart, held the consumption-boosting sales events last month, according to the industry.

Sales of convenience stores also rose 9 percent on the back of strong demand for smaller packages of food and their trendy items.

But smaller supermarkets saw their sales decrease 1.6 percent last month, it added.

On online platforms, sales of the service sector jumped 46.1 percent on the back of the popularity of food delivery services and growing demand for travel packages ahead of eased social distancing restrictions.

On Nov. 1, South Korea began implementing the "living with COVID-19" scheme, which calls for the relaxation of monthslong strict antivirus rules for people's gradual return to pre-pandemic life.

Sales of groceries and home appliances from the online platforms also went up 25.3 percent and 22.7 percent, respectively, data showed. (Yonhap)

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