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Korean Department Store Sales Weaken After Economy Slows

Sales at major South Korean department stores declined for a fifth month in October as the slowest economic growth in three years damped sentiment.

Outlays at the three biggest chains declined 0.4 percent from a year earlier in October after a 0.8 percent drop in September, the Ministry of Knowledge Economy said in a statement today. Discount-store sales declined 6.6 percent last month, the report showed.

South Koreans may still wait until after a presidential vote next month and for a budget compromise in the U.S. before spending more, said Lee Sang Jae, a Seoul-based economist at Hyundai Securities Co. Asia’s fourth-biggest economy grew 1.6 percent in the three months through September from a year earlier, the slowest pace since 2009, according to an initial estimate. The revised figure is due Dec. 6.

“Household spending is unlikely to pick up until uncertainty over the election and the U.S. fiscal cliff clears up,” Lee said before the data release. “That is likely to be after the first quarter of next year.”

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