SEOUL, May 28 (Yonhap) — Retail sales in South Korea rose 3.9 percent in April from a year earlier on the back of rising demand for online platforms as more people refrained from going outside amid the new coronavirus pandemic, data showed Thursday.
The combined sales of 26 major offline and online retailers reached 10.8 trillion won (US$8.74 billion) last month, up from 10.4 trillion won posted a year earlier, according to the data compiled by the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has infected more than 11,000 people in South Korea, has dealt a harsh blow to offline stores amid the country’s social distancing.’
The country’s 13 major offline retailers saw their sales fall 5.5 percent on-year in April, the data showed.
Sales from department stores plunged 14.8 percent on-year in April, while those from large supermarkets dropped 2.6 percent.
Convenience stores also suffered a 1.9 percent decrease in their sales as shuttered schools led to the weaker demand for snacks.
Online retailers, however, enjoyed a 16.9 percent increase in their sales as people ordered food and daily necessities from home.
Sales of food products especially shot up 56.4 percent over the period, although the revenue from clothes edged down 8.8 percent.
In 2019, retail sales in South Korea rose 4.8 percent on-year. Revenue at online shopping malls advanced 14.2 percent, while that of offline stores shed 0.9 percent over the period.