SEOUL May 22 Sales at South Korea's top department store and discount store chains fell simultaneously in April from a year earlier, down for a third month in a row, revised data showed on Thursday, roughly in line with earlier estimates.
It was the first time since August 2012 that sales in both categories of stores suffered annual losses for a third consecutive month, indicating domestic demand in Asia's fourth-largest economy was softening after a strong start to the year.
Combined sales at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae Co fell 1.4 percent in April from a year earlier, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
It was slightly worse than a preliminary 0.1 percent decline in sales estimated by the finance ministry early this month.
Department-store sales in March fell 1.1 percent and dropped 2.4 percent in February in annual terms after a whopping 6.8 percent gain in January, government data showed.
Still, combined sales at department stores run by the three companies were still 0.5 percent higher than a year earlier, data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy showed.
Meanwhile, sales at the country's top discount stores fell by a combined 4.1 percent in April in annual terms, compared with an earlier estimate of a 3.7 percent decline. It follows a 3.7 percent annual decline in March. (Reporting by Jungmin Jang; Editing by Choonsik Yoo and Jacqueline Wong)