Wine sales outstrip soju sales for very first time

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Wine sales outstrip soju sales for very first time

Sales of wine at local discount chains outstripped those of soju for the first time, data showed yesterday, mirroring a changing trend in Korea’s drinking culture.

Wine sales surpassed those of the local alcoholic drink by 4.6 percent this year, according to the data by Lotte Mart, a discount chain arm of retail giant Lotte. Last year, sales of wine lagged behind those of soju by roughly 6 percent.

Wine sales stood at around 25 percent of soju sales in the first half in the early 2000s, but jumped to 58 percent in 2006 and have been trending higher, according to the retailer.

“Wine sales surpassed those of soju sales for the first time since we opened our stores, mostly due to a rise in red wine sales,” said a spokesman for Lotte.

The retailer projected the gap between the two alcoholic drinks to widen as demand for wine surges for Christmas and year-end parties.

Meanwhile, the data showed that overall alcohol sales slipped 2.2 percent from a year earlier.

Sales of traditional liquor slumped 9.4 percent, while soju and beer sales fell 7.6 percent and 0.4 percent, respectively.

Wine and liquor sales gained 5.2 percent and 1.2 percent, respectively.

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