Department store sales benefit from holidays

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Department store sales benefit from holidays

Department store sales rose this month on the strength of several family-oriented holidays and special occasions, retail industry data showed Tuesday.

Numbers provided by major Korean retailers showed Children’s Day, which falls on May 5 every year, a substitute day off, and May 8 Parents’ Day all contributed to more consumption at department stores.

In addition, Buddha’s Birthday, which is a national holiday that fell on Tuesday, created a long four-day break for some workers, giving them more time to spend.

In the first 20 days of this month, sales at upper-end department stores like Shinsegae, Lotte and Hyundai all rose, with some reporting close to double-digit gains compared to the year before.

Shinsegae said its sales shot up 9.9 percent on-year, which is an improvement on the 1.5 percent contraction reported for May 2017.

The store said sales of men’s and women’s clothing rose 16.1 percent and 12.6 percent, respectively, while demand for sports products moved up 12.6 percent. It said demand for expensive designer goods soared 26 percent.

The increase in sales was also reported by Hyundai and Lotte department stores during the same period. Hyundai said it sold 6.1 percent more goods, with Lotte trailing with a gain of 5.3 vis-a-vis the year before.

Clothing, cosmetics, sports and imports generated growth for the stores with demand for consumer electronics and home fashion items contributing to the overall good showing.

“Holidays and special occasions requiring gift buying played a part in better sales numbers this year,” a Lotte Department Store representative said.

He said sales ahead of Children’s Day and Parents’ Day were good.

On the other hand, less demand for fresh produce that make up a large part of hypermarket sales caused a drop in numbers for such retailers.

Emart, the country’s largest discount store chain, said sales for April and May were off slightly compared with the year before. It said demand for both fresh and processed food fell last month and coming into May.

The company said sales of TVs, refrigerators and washers did rise, although not enough to offset the dip in demand in other areas.

This trend was repeated at Lotte Mart, which said sales were off 1.8 percent so far in May, affected in part by negative growth in fresh produce.

An industry expert said sluggish economic conditions were having an effect, with department stores that tailor to the more wealthy less vulnerable than hypermarkets.

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