STORES | Staff Reporter, Korea

Convenience stores outrun department stores in South Korea

The rise of convenience retail was attributed to a shop-near-home trend in the country.

Convenience stores outperformed major department stores for the first time in terms of offline sales in 2020, Yonhap reported based on data from the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy.

The combined sales of the top convenience chains—GS25, CU and 7-Eleven—took up 31% of the total offline sales in the local retail industry, up from 29.2% in the previous year.

Meanwhile, the combined percentage of big three department stores—Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae—shrank to 28.4% from 30.4% over the same period.

The rise of convenience stores is largely attributed to the anti-crowd, shop-near-home trend amidst strict social distancing measures. Convenience stores were also noted to sell more diverse categories of products catering to all age groups in a larger number of stores.

In 2016, the convenience stores accounted for only 23% of the offline retail sales, compared with department stores' 33.8%.

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