SEOUL, June 26 Sales at South Korea's top
department and discount store chains both rose in May from a
year earlier after falling for three straight months, revised
data from the trade ministry showed on Thursday, adding to hopes
domestic consumption is recovering.
Combined sales at department stores run by Hyundai
Department Store, Lotte Shopping and
Shinsegae Co rose 0.8 percent in May from a year
earlier, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
The revised increase was smaller than a 2.0 percent gain
estimated by the finance ministry earlier in the month, but
eased some concerns that consumer spending had been hit by a
darkened public mood from the ferry sinking in mid-April that
killed more than 300 people.
The trade ministry data showed that electronics sales,
sparked by the ongoing World Cup and earlier-than-usual season
sales, had largely contributed to the gain.
Sales at major discount-store chains in May also rose by a
combined 1.2 percent from a year earlier, the trade data showed,
thanks to the World Cup and public holidays during the month.
It too, was slightly revised down from a 1.7 percent
increase estimated by the finance ministry.
The revised data comes a day after a central bank survey
showed consumer sentiment in June improved after a modest fall
in May, boding well for retail sales this month.
(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Jacqueline Wong)