The sales of Korea’s department stores and discount stores plunged last month due to the spread of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry, and Energy on July 29, the sales of department stores fell 11.9 percent last month year on year, while those of large discount stores declined 10.2 percent.
Despite the slump of domestic consumption, the nation’s department and discount stores marked a positive growth in April and May but declined in June primarily due to the MERS crisis. Compared to a month ago, department store sales plunged 26.7 percent and discount store sales 16.0 percent.
To identify the impact of the MERS on department store and discount store sales, the ministry analyzed their weekly sales trend. During the third and fourth week of May when the MERS crisis was in its initial stage, their sales were not declined. However, their sales fell sharply during the first and second week of June when concerns grew sharply over the MERS crisis.
In contrast, the sales of discount stores increased 3.7 percent last month, indicating that more consumers used nearby supermarkets rather than shopping at department and discount stores.