S.Korea department, discount store sales fall in June

SEOUL, July 8 Mon Jul 7, 2014 9:00pm EDT

SEOUL, July 8 (Reuters) - Sales at South Korea's top department and discount store chains fell in June, adding to concerns that the country's economic recovery is faltering.

Combined sales at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae Co fell 3.4 percent last month from a year before, the finance ministry said in a report on Tuesday,

It was the steepest fall since an 8.2 percent decline in January last year.

Sales at major discount-store chains in June slipped 5.8 percent compared to a year ago, which was the fastest fall since a 23.1 percent drop in February.

Department and discount store sales had rebounded in May after falling for three straight months, which eased some concerns that spending would take a sustained hit from a darkened public mood after a ferry sinking in April that killed more than 300 people.

Revised department and discount store sales will be released later in the month by the trade ministry.

Data last week showed South Korea's industrial output shrank the most in over five years in May, lending credence to the growing view that the central bank would delay the start of interest rate hikes to support growth. Exports have also been tepid. (Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill)