Sales in April at all retailers take a plunge

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Sales in April at all retailers take a plunge

Local retailers saw sales plunge last month, signaling that the domestic economy is stagnant or worse.

According to figures for April released by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy on Thursday, sales at large discount store chains declined 9.8 percent from a year earlier and fell 13.9 percent compared to the previous month.

The ministry reported poor sales of food, clothes, sports goods and consumer electronics at discount chains. Sales were also bad for department stores and convenience stores.

The chilly weather nipped demand for springtime products and slow economic growth quashed back-to-school buying, the ministry added.

In addition, the enforcement of the mandatory dark days for discount chains twice a month, the government’s attempt to help small mom-and-pop stores, continued the decline in retail sales that began in the first quarter of 2012.

Sales at discount chains increased by 8.9 percent on-year in February but in March slumped once more at a negative 4.4 percent rate.

Food sales dropped 9.3 percent in April, clothing plunged 17.7 percent, sports goods fell 12.2 percent and consumer electronics went down 6.8 percent from a year earlier.

Department stores saw their sales decline by 1.9 percent in April compared to a year earlier due to sluggish annual sales promotions.

Sales of menswear declined 10.4 percent and cosmetics continued to post negative growth.

Convenience store sales actually rose 8.3 percent in March, but that is considered a decline because the number of convenience store outlets rose 13.4 percent.

Meanwhile, purchases per customer were 42,394 won ($37.60) at discount chains, 76,236 won at department stores and 3,870 won at convenience stores.

By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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