SEOUL (Reuters)—Annual sales at South Korea’s top department stores in January slipped more than initially thought in the biggest decline on record, thanks to seasonal factors, revised government data showed on Wednesday.
Combined sales last month at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae Co dropped 11.0 percent in January from a year earlier, the trade ministry said.
This was worse than a 9.7 percent fall estimated by the finance ministry earlier this month, already the steepest contraction since records were kept in 2005.
The poor sales were attributed to the change in the timing of the Lunar New Year holidays, which fell in mid-February this year compared with late January in 2014. Months in which the holiday fall tend to show surges in consumption.
The same data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy showed revised sales at the country’s top discount stores declined 18.3 percent in January year-on-year, slightly better than initial estimates of a 20.7 percent slide.