Discount stores hit by slow sales

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Discount stores hit by slow sales

Sales at major discount chains dropped from a year earlier last month, mainly due to reduced demand for foodstuffs and lost earnings caused by the mandatory closure of stores, the government said yesterday.

Sales at the country’s three major discount chains contracted 5.7 percent on-year last month, the second-largest dip this year after the 6.4 percent fall tallied in February, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

“Higher fresh produce prices affected sales of groceries, while measures taken by regional governments to force big stores to close on some weekends so people will use smaller neighborhood shops also played a role in the decrease,” the ministry said in a press release.

Grocery sales, which accounted for 51.1 percent of all sales in the cited month, plunged 6.5 percent on-year in May. Demand for everyday miscellaneous goods also fell 3.6 percent.

The outlet chains checked were Lotte Mart, E-Mart and Homeplus.

Sales at the country’s three major department store chains, on the other hand, rose 1 percent on-year, a rebound from 3.4 percent negative growth posted for the previous month.

Lotte, Shinsegae and Hyundai said luxury product sales gained 4.9 percent, with sports-related and foodstuff demand moving up 6.4 percent and 3.6 percent, respectively.

The three largest department stores said sales of miscellaneous goods rose, although numbers for clothing went down.

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