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Sales of department stores surpass 30 tln won in 2018

All Headlines 11:03 April 17, 2019

SEOUL, April 17 (Yonhap) -- Sales of South Korean department stores are estimated to have surpassed 30 trillion won (US$26.3 billion) in 2018 for the first time thanks to strong demand for home appliances and luxury items, industry data showed Wednesday.

The combined sales of the nation's department stores were estimated to have risen 2.3 percent from a year ago, according to industry data.

The high-end retail segment first exceeded the 20 trillion won in sales in 2009, and the figures fell shy of 30 trillion won between 2012 and 2017.

Local department stores grew quickly in the early 2000s thanks to an increase in the number of middle-class consumers, but they grappled with years of stagnation over the past years due to the rise of online malls and sluggish domestic demand.

The mood improved last year on growing demand for home appliances related to air quality, such as air purifiers and clothes dryers, amid worsening fine dust air pollution, and rise in luxury items sought by VIP customers.

"While the total number of stores has been declining steadily, sales of department stores succeeded the 30 trillion threshold for the first time thanks to strong demand for expensive home appliances and luxury items, and rebound of Chinese shoppers," an official at Lotte Department Store, said.

The local department store market is an oligopoly, with top three players --- Lotte Department Store, Hyundai Department Store and Shinsegae -- accounting for about 80 percent of the sector's sales.

Shoppers check cosmetic products at a department store in downtown Seoul on April 16, 2019. (Yonhap)

ejkim@yna.co.kr
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