Sales at discount outlets and department stores grow in June

SEOUL, July 25 (Yonhap) -- Sales at South Korea's major discount outlet chains and department stores grew last month from a year earlier, the government said Thursday.

According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, combined sales of three major discount outlet chains here rose 4.2 percent on-year in June, marking a sharp turnaround from a drop of 4.3 percent in the previous month.

The three discount outlet chains are Lotte Mart, E-Mart and Homeplus.

Their accumulated sales in the first half, on the other hand, slipped 6 percent from the same period in 2012, partly due to a 7.4 percent on-year drop in sales of foodstuff, the ministry said in a press release.

In June, the number of total purchases at discount outlet stores gained 1.7 percent from a year earlier with the average amount of each purchase also growing 0.6 percent on-year.

The combined sales of three major department store chains gained 4.1 percent from a year earlier in June with their accumulated sales for the first six months of the year inching up 0.5 percent on-year.

The ministry attributed the growth in sales at the department store chains -- Hyundai, Shinsegae and Lotte -- to a large increase in sales of home appliances such as air conditioners and dehumidifiers, which jumped 15.7 percent from a year earlier.

The number of purchases at department stores rose 7.8 percent on-year last month, but the average amount of each purchase shrank 3.3 percent.

Sales at the country's convenience stores grew 9 percent on-year in June, but this was mostly due to a 10 percent increase in the number of stores in the country, the ministry said.

Sales at the so-called super supermarkets (SSMs), on the other hand, slipped 2.6 percent on-year last month.

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