April 5, 2012 / 1:01 AM / in 6 years

S.Korea March retail sales post modest growth -fin min

SEOUL, April 5 (Reuters) - South Korea’s retail sales grew modestly in March amid easing inflationary pressures and signs that the country’s economy may be bottoming, preliminary government data showed Thursday.

Sales at the country’s top department stores rose 1.8 percent in March from a year earlier, slower than a 2.9 percent rise in February, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said in a report.

Sales at top discount stores rose 2.3 percent in March from a year earlier, rebounding from a 6.4 percent fall in February.

Sales of locally produced automobiles fell 9.9 percent in March compared with a 5.5 percent rise in February.

The ministry said that while retail sales would likely continue a gradual recovery in coming months, the risk of higher oil prices could limit the rebound in domestic consumption.

Reporting by Se Young Lee; Editing by Jonathan Hopfner

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