South Korea Experiences First Drop in Retail Sales in Two Decades

Seoul, South Korea - For the first time in twenty years, South Korea's retail sales have seen a decline, as indicated by government data released on Monday. The index for retail sales averaged 106.6 in November, marking a 1.4 percent decrease from the previous year, based on the data compiled by Statistics Korea. This comparison was drawn from the January-November average data of 2022 against the same period in the previous year.

According to Yonhap News Agency, This downturn, the first since 2003 when the index fell by 3.1 percent, was observed across various sectors. Sales of semi-durable goods like clothing, footwear, and bags dropped by 2.3 percent. Similarly, nondurable items such as food, cosmetics, and fuel decreased by 1.7 percent. However, highly durable goods, including cars, saw a marginal increase of 0.1 percent over the cited period. Analysts attribute this rare decline in the retail sales index to high consumer prices over the past two years, which have curtailed private spending. Inflation rates in South Korea escalated to 5.1 percent in 2022 and 3.6 percent in 2023.

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