Discount stores see imported beer sales surge after FTA

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Discount stores see imported beer sales surge after FTA

Sales of imported beer in Korea surged at the beginning of this year following the implementation of the country’s free trade deal with the European Union, industry data showed yesterday.

According to E-Mart, Korea’s leading retail outlet, sales of foreign beers from Jan. 1 to Feb. 13 soared 56.2 percent compared to the same period last year, outpacing sales of local beers, which fell 3.2 percent, and soju, a traditional distilled beverage, which edged down 0.1 percent.

E-Mart said it sells around 200 different foreign beers.

Lotte Mart, the third-largest discount chain store, said its sales of imported beer grew 4.6 percent over the same period, while sales of other alcoholic beverages such as domestic beer and wine shrank slightly.

As a result, sales of overall alcoholic beverage sales dropped 4.7 percent on-year, according to Lotte Mart.

Market watchers said Korean retailers are increasing imports of European beers as the recent FTA between the two sides is set to phase out tariffs on European beers within seven years. The FTA took effect last July 1.

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