SEOUL, April 24 Sales at South Korea's top
department stores fell in March, government data showed on
Thursday, revised down from a preliminary estimate of a slight
gain, suggesting a recovery in domestic consumption remains
Combined sales at department store chains run by Hyundai
Department Store, Lotte Shopping and
Shinsegae Co fell 1.1 percent in March in annual
terms, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
Earlier estimates from the finance ministry had shown sales
had edged up 0.1 percent from a year earlier. Sales in February
had fallen 1.7 percent year-on-year.
The trade ministry attributed March's decline to fewer
holidays in the month compared with a year earlier as well as
cold weather that resulted in less spending on clothing.
On a quarterly basis, department store sales rose 1.1
percent and at the fastest speed since a 2.4 percent rise in the
third quarter of 2013, the data showed.
Meanwhile, sales at the country's top discount stores fell a
revised 3.7 percent, versus an earlier estimate of a 3.8 percent
The data comes just before the Bank of Korea releases its
preliminary estimates for first-quarter growth, for which
analysts have forecast a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent rise
from the previous quarter.
(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Chris Gallagher)