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.