SEOUL Aug 26 Annual sales at South Korea's top
department stores in July rose at a smaller pace than initially
estimated, revised government data showed on Tuesday, but they
still marked a welcome gain from a sharp drop in June.
Combined sales at department stores run by Hyundai
Department Store, Lotte Shopping and
Shinsegae Co rose 2.0 percent in July on an annual
basis, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
This was a much smaller rise than a 4.2 percent increase
estimated by the finance ministry earlier this month.
Nonetheless, the gain added to hopes consumption may be on the
mend after sales slumped 4.6 percent in June.
Revised sales at major discount-store chains in July fell
4.6 percent from a year ago, the same data showed, little
changed from a 4.5 percent decline estimated earlier. It was a
shallower decline compared to a 5.9 percent drop seen in June.
Domestic demand took a big hit in Asia's fourth-largest
economy in April when a ferry capsized and sank, killing more
than 300 passengers and dragging down second quarter growth to
its slowest in more than a year.
This prompted Finance Minister Choi Kyung-hwan to announce a
raft of new policies in July, led by an additional $11 billion
in government spending.
Aiming to get the economy motoring again, Choi urged
lawmakers on Tuesday to quickly pass bills related to his
economic reform plan as parliament is currently deadlocked over
a special law regarding the ferry sinking.
(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Shri Navaratnam)