Ginseng Leads Holiday Gift Sales

      February 02, 2010 07:41

      What will be the most popular gift item for the lunar New Year holidays, which falls on Feb. 13 to 15, this year? It appears that red ginseng will top the list, edging out beef ribs, yellow corbinas, and fruits.

      Lotte Department Store said that advance sales of lunar New Year gift items began on Jan. 8, and health food items featuring red ginseng are in the lead with 37 percent. Beef ribs and other fresh meats are in second with 15 percent, and dried seafood such as seaweed and anchovies are in third, followed by fruits and alcohol. Yellow corbinas, traditionally one of the most popular gift items, have been pushed out of the top five. Sales of health food are up 189 percent from last year.

      At Hyundai Department Store, health food accounted for 25 percent of holiday gift items sold between Jan. 8 and 17, second to fresh meat at 29 percent. However, health food saw 98 percent sales growth last year compared to 81 percent for fresh meat.

      Sales of health food have also increased at Shinsegae Department Store. "We have a lot of advance orders from corporate customers who tend to prefer gift items featuring fresh meat," a Shinsegae staffer said. "However, as the holiday approaches, sales of health food are likely to soar." Health food was the number one gift item at Shinsegae during both the lunar New Year and Chuseok holidays last year.

      Choi Won-il, chief of the food department at Lotte Department Store, said, "With health on the minds of many customers these days, red ginseng has become the most popular gift items at department stores."

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