[THE INVESTOR] Retail sales in Korea increased in July compared with a year earlier, led by robust demand by online stores that are attracting customers with fast delivery and easy transaction service, government data showed on Aug. 30.
The combined sales of 26 major offline and online retailers reached 11.01 trillion won (US$9.91 billion) last month, up 7.8 percent from a year earlier, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said.
Sales of 13 major online stores and marketplaces jumped 17.8 percent on-year to drive the overall growth.
Online malls reported a 21.5 percent spike in sales as more people opted to do their grocery shopping online, thereby allowing them to receive fast delivery service.
Online marketplaces, where product or service information is provided by multiple third parties, reported a 16.3 percent growth in sales thanks to strong demand in electronics and IT products.
Sales of 13 offline-based retailers, including department stores, discount chains and convenience stores, gained 2.3 percent, led by steady increases in convenience store users, which advanced 8.9 percent, the ministry said.
In contrast, sales at large discount stores actually declined 2.5 percent as more people turned to online channels for daily necessities and other items, it noted.
By Song Seung-hyun and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)