SEOUL Dec 27 Combined sales at South Korea's
top department stores rose for the first time in six months in
November year-on-year, and at the fastest pace in 11 months,
data showed on Thursday, adding to signs the economy is turning
Combined sales at department stores run by Hyundai
Department Store, Lotte Shopping and
Shinsegae rose 9.1 percent in November from a year
earlier, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement.
This was slightly worse than a 10.2 percent rise estimated
by the finance ministry earlier this month but still marked the
fastest growth since December 2011. It also ended a five-month
run of annual declines in their sales.
Meanwhile, sales at the country's top three discount store
chains fell by 1.7 percent in November from a year earlier,
following a 6.6 percent drop in October and compared with a 2.1
percent drop initially estimated by the finance ministry.
South Korea's tight labour market and low inflation have
improved the purchasing power at households but heightened
uncertainties surrounding the global as well as local economy
have prompted consumers to cut down spending.
(Reporting By Se Young Lee; Editing by Choonsik Yoo)