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SEOUL, Feb 27 (Reuters) - South Korea's department store sales in January rose at the fastest pace in three months, trade ministry data showed on Monday, as demand rose thanks to the Lunar New Year holiday.
Combined sales last month at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae Co climbed 4.6 percent in January for a year earlier, accelerating from 3.3 percent in December.
January's rise was the fastest since a 6.0 percent jump in October.
Retail sales tend to rise around Lunar New Year, which can fall anywhere between mid-January to mid-February, as consumers ramp up purchases of gifts and food.
A breakdown showed sales of nearly all product categories at department stores increased in January, except for women's formal wear and men's apparel.
The same data showed sales at discount stores jumped 11.3 percent in January on an annual basis, on the back of the holiday. That was the fastest rise since sales soared 24.5 percent in February 2015, and snapped two months of falls. January's biggest gain was for food products. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Richard Borsuk)