SEOUL Nov 21 Sales at South Korea's top
department and discount stores contracted simultaneously for the
fourth time in five months in October, revised government data
showed on Wednesday, underscoring weak consumer sentiment as
Asia's fourth-largest economy continues to sputter.
Sales at department stores run by the country's top three
chain operators in October fell by 0.4 percent from a year
earlier, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement.
That compared with a 1.3 percent drop initially estimated by
the finance ministry and a 0.8 percent drop in September.
The top three operators are Hyundai Department Store
, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae
Sales at the top three discount stores also declined by 6.6
percent year-on-year, compared with a 7.4 percent fall initially
estimated. Discount store sales had risen by 0.2 percent in
The data indicates that heavily leveraged Korean households
continue to cut their spending to guard against risks posed by
the housing market slump and weak economic growth.
South Korean households' real consumption spending fell by
0.7 percent during the third quarter from the same period a year
ago, even as their real disposable income grew by a record 4.6
The country's quarterly economic growth slowed to a
seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent during the July-September
period, the weakest in nearly three years, and local
policymakers do not expect a sharp economic recovery.
Many analysts believe the central bank will ease policy at
least one more time during the first half of 2013 to support the
economy. The central bank cut interest rates in July and October
this year in response to slowing growth.
(Reporting By Se Young Lee; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)