Sluggish produce sales hurts retailers

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Sluggish produce sales hurts retailers

Sales at major discount chains and department stores fell in April from a year earlier on weaker demand for groceries and clothing, a government report showed yesterday.

Combined sales of the country’s three major discount chains fell 2.4 percent last month from a year earlier, a turnaround from a gain of 3.2 percent tallied in the previous month, according to the report by the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

Sales fell mainly because of the 3.3 percent drop in groceries, which accounted for 54.7 percent of all goods sold, along with sagging demand for miscellaneous goods and clothing.

Miscellaneous goods contracted 4.7 percent from the year before, with clothing and consumer electronics falling 1.7 percent and 6.1 percent, respectively. The Ministry of Knowledge Economy added that forcing some discount stores to close on Sundays to encourage shoppers to buy more products from smaller neighborhood supermarkets had hurt overall sales.

Sales at department stores also dipped 3.4 percent on-year in April, compared with a 1.6 percent increase reported in March.

The contraction was attributed to weak sales of clothing and various household and luxury goods. Luxury good sales at department stores fell 5.9 percent, with those of miscellaneous household goods down 5.1 percent.

The monthly report is used as an indicator of Korea’s consumer sentiment but does not provide specific sales figures from Lotte, Shinsegae and Hyundai department stores.

The three discount chains surveyed were Lotte Mart, E-Mart and Homeplus. Yonhap

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