S.Korea April department store sales fall vs year ago

SEOUL Wed May 22, 2013 4:59pm EDT

SEOUL May 23 (Reuters) - Sales at South Korea's top department store and discount store chains both fell in April from a year earlier for the first time in three months, underscoring shaky consumer confidence.

Sales at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store , Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae fell by a combined 1.9 percent in April from a year earlier, industry ministry data showed on Thursday.

Separately, sales at the country's top three discount store chains declined by a sharper 9.8 percent in April over a year earlier, making it the first time since January that sales at both categories suffered annual losses.

These were roughly in line with estimates by the finance ministry early this month that April sales at department and discount store chains dipped by 1.6 percent and 10.3 percent, respectively, on an annual basis. (Reporting by Choonsik Yoo; Editing by Kim Coghill)