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South Korea’s Retail Sales Surge 4% in April as Demand Rebounds

South Korea’s Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy has reported a notable 4% year-on-year increase in retail sales for April. The surge in sales can be attributed to a growing number of people engaging in outdoor activities and the promotion of discount outlets.

According to the ministry’s report, total sales at 25 major online and offline retailers in South Korea reached 14.08 trillion won (approximately $10.67 billion) in April, surpassing the 13.54 trillion won recorded in the same period last year. The rise in sales can be attributed to the increased participation in outdoor activities during the spring season, as well as the easing of COVID-19 restrictions by the government.

Notably, the South Korean government recently lifted the requirement of wearing face masks in public transportation, following the earlier lifting of the mandate for face masks in buildings. These steps signify significant progress in returning to normalcy and have contributed to the revival of consumer confidence.

The surge in retail sales was further supported by the efforts of discount outlets that held major promotional campaigns during April.

Offline retail sales experienced a notable 4.8% year-on-year growth, reaching 7.28 trillion won. This growth was primarily driven by increased demand for food items, which witnessed an 8.5% surge. Additionally, the demand for clothing and luxury goods rose by 2.8% and 4.5%, respectively.

Department store sales saw a 2.5% increase, while sales at discount chain stores like E-mart and Lotte Mart witnessed a 3.3% rise compared to the previous year. Convenience store sales surged by 8.9% due to strong demand for small packaged meals and daily necessities.

Online platforms also experienced a positive trend, with sales rising by 3.2% to reach 6.8 trillion won in April. The surge in online sales was driven by the increased demand for ready-to-eat food items and everyday essentials.

The significant growth in retail sales for April indicates a strong recovery in consumer demand in South Korea. As the country continues to ease COVID-19 restrictions and with the promotion of attractive discounts, the retail sector is poised for further growth in the coming months.

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