Economy Shows Signs of Picking Up

      July 13, 2015 11:17

      The Korean economy, which was hit hard by the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome, is showing clear signs of recovery.

      Revenues in five major retail outlets in Pyeongtaek south of Seoul, which saw the nation's first confirmed case of the viral disease, fell to W4.99 billion during the second week of June at the height of the MERS crisis, but returned to W7.28 billion in early July, which is similar to before the outbreak (US$=W1,131).

      The main branch of Lotte Department Store in Myeong-dong, Seoul is packed with shoppers on Sunday despite rain.

      The Ministry of Government Administration and Home Affairs said public transportation use, sales at large retailers and visitor numbers at major tourist attractions are all gradually recovering.

      Department stores are seeing up to three-percent on-year rises in revenues thanks to recent sales. Sales at E-Mart, Home Plus and Lotte Mart rose up to five percent this month.

      Choi Hoon-hak at E-Mart said, "Consumer sentiment is recovering with the start of vacation season."

      People are also returning to baseball stadiums. The Korean Baseball League saw attendance fall 22 percent during the height of the MERS outbreak, but game attendance returned to a normal 10,944 from July 7 until this past weekend.

      Last weekend, 67 group tourists from China arrived in Korea aboard an Asiana flight, the biggest group since the MERS outbreak began in late May.

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