] Retailers are struggling with weak sales amid unfavorable market conditions, industry data showed on May 19.
According to the sales tally, April’s numbers by major department stores shrank nearly 2 percent compared to same month last year. Lotte showed a 1.9-percent contraction while sales at Hyundai fell 1.6 percent. The lone increase in sales was in the home appliances sector from the wedding season in spring.
Retailers had hoped for a big pickup in May, boosted by the extended holidays early in the month, but it fizzled out. Sales had gained 2.8 percent during the May 1-6 holiday period, but the record for May 1-17 showed blunted growth of 1.4 percent, meaning business slowed down immediately after the holiday.
Another source of concern for the retail industry is regulatory moves by the new government. President Moon Jae-in during his campaign had signaled restrictive measures that would limit construction of large malls, prohibit big shopping centers from doing business between midnight and 10 a.m., and require two days of closure per month.
By Alex Lee and newswires (email@example.com