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South Korea’s Department Store Sales Expand Least in 7 Months

Sales at major South Korean department stores increased in September at the slowest pace in seven months, a sign that consumer demand may be faltering.

Outlays at the three biggest chains gained 6.5 percent from a year earlier, after rising 8.3 percent in August, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement today. Discount-store sales fell 1.1 percent, the first drop in seven months after a 2 percent gain in August, today’s report showed.

South Korean consumer confidence last month stayed at the lowest level since March as people braced for fallout from a global economic slowdown. Inflation above the central bank’s target limit and higher interest rates are also curbing consumers’ purchasing power.

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