Sales at supermarkets plunged 24.3 percent in January compared to the same month last year, the biggest drop ever since statistics began in 2005, the Ministry of Strategy and Finance said Thursday. Sales at department stores also fell 8.4 percent.
Meanwhile, sales of domestically-manufactured passenger cars rose only 1.6 percent last month, compared to 7.5 percent in December.
The ministry attributed the poor figures to the fact that the lunar New Year fell in January last year but in February this year, shifting the benefits of the traditional spending spree to the following month.
Sluggish car sales were due to the termination at the end of last year of discounts on individual consumption taxes.