SEOUL, March 30 South Korea's department and
discount store sales in February declined due to distortions
stemming from the Lunar New Year holiday, trade ministry data
showed on Thursday.
Combined sales in February at department stores run by
Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping
and Shinsegae Co fell 1.3 percent from a year
earlier, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
In January, sales rose 4.6 percent on-year, the fastest pace
of growth in three months.
The same data showed sales at discount stores plunged 19.5
percent from a year ago in February, reversing and taking back
more than the 11.3 percent jump seen in January.
It was the worst fall since a 23.1 percent drop in February
Retail sales tend to rise around Lunar New Year, but the
holiday can fall anywhere between mid-January to mid-February,
resulting in data distortions around that period.
The holiday occurred in late January this year and in 2015
it was in mid-February.
At department stores in February, demand for women's apparel
and luxury products nearly offset declines in food, the trade
ministry said. Sales for all categories fell at discount stores
(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)