Government says retail sales in a tailspin in February

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Government says retail sales in a tailspin in February

Combined sales at Korea’s top department store chains fell at their sharpest annual rate in 13 months in February, revised government data showed yesterday.

Sales at department stores run by the country’s top three chains fell by 2.4 percent last month from a year earlier, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said in a statement, a more severe fall than the 1.7 percent drop estimated earlier in March and marking the sharpest decline since January 2013.

Sales at the country’s top discount store chains fell by 23.1 percent, the same as the initial estimates and also a 13-month low.

February’s sales performance was affected by the Lunar New Year holidays, but data nonetheless suggests that job growth, subdued inflation and a more optimistic outlook indicated by the Bank of Korea’s consumer sentiment readings have yet to translate into robust demand.

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