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Retail sector glum for fourth straight quarter

Apr 19,2019
The outlook for the retail industry continued to decline for the fourth quarter in a row.

According to a report from the Korea Chamber Commerce and Industry (KCCI), the negative outlook for retail in the second quarter deepened due to a continuing slump in offline retail businesses, including convenience stores and supermarkets.

The Retail Business Survey Index (RBSI) hit 91 points for the second quarter of this year, one point lower than the previous quarter. Some 1,000 retailers responded to the survey.

With 100 points set as the standard, a figure above 100 suggests a positive outlook and below 100 a negative one. The last time the index scored higher than 100 was for the third quarter of 2014, at 102 points

By sector, convenience stores scored the lowest with 77 points, followed by supermarkets (82 points), department stores (89 points) and discount stores (92 points). Online operators scored better than offline businesses, with online shopping having scoring 103. Home shopping scored 100.

Some 49.1 percent of retailers surveyed supported the easing of government regulation on brick-and-mortar stores like lifting a ban that limits stores from opening a new branch within a certain distance. Slowing the increases in the minimum wage came at a distant second with 16.7 percent support.

“The fact that the only [type of] retailer that surpassed the standard 100 points was online shopping suggests the slump in the retail industry, which is closely connected to public spending, will continue,” said a spokesperson for KCCI. “The industry will have to read the changing consumption [patterns] and trends to be able to create new [revenue sources].”


BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]