S.Korea Nov dept store sales rise seen at 11-mth high

SEOUL Thu Dec 6, 2012 8:02pm EST

SEOUL Dec 7 (Reuters) - Sales last month at South Korea's top three department store chains rose for the first time in six months and by the fastest annual pace in 11 months, preliminary data showed on Friday, adding to signs of the economy turning around.

Sales at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store , Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae rose 10.2 percent in November from a year earlier, the finance ministry's monthly report estimated.

It snapped a five-month run of annual declines in their sales and marked the fastest growth since December 2011.

Sales at the country's top three discount store chains fell by 2.1 percent from a year earlier, improving from a 6.6 percent decline in October but marking the eighth month of fall this year, according to the report.

The Ministry of Knowledge Economy will release final November sales figures for the department and discount stores later this month.

Data last week showed exports by Asia's fourth-largest economy rose 3.9 percent in November from a year earlier, beating the market's consensus forecast and gaining for two successive months for the first time this year. (Reporting By Se Young Lee; Editing by Choonsik Yoo)