Recession Hits Luxury Sales in Department Stores

  • By O Youn-hee

    June 21, 2013 11:36

    Sales of luxury goods at department stores grew only 0.1 percent on-year in May, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said Thursday.

    Luxury goods sales have been sputtering since late last year, falling 0.3 percent on-year in December 2012 and dropping another 7.1 percent and 6.3 percent in January and February.

    They then rose 8 percent in March thanks to demand for graduation and back-to-school presents, but growth slowed to 4.1 percent in April.

    "As the recession drags on, even the rich, who have been less sensitive to these conditions in the past, are now tightening their purse strings," said a department store staffer. "Even the luxury goods market is seeing a polarizing trend between ultra-expensive products, which continue to sell well, and more mass-market luxury brands, where sales are slowing."

    The fashion industry as a whole is seeing shrinking sales. Sales of women's apparel were down 2.8 percent on-year in May, while men's clothes fell 5.4 percent.

    Sales of accessories and other fashion goods grew only 0.4 percent.

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