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Average of 10 bars shut down daily

An average of nearly 10 bars closed per day last year, reflecting an industrywide downturn, the National Tax Service said Tuesday.

As of January, 3,600 bars shut down their operations over the last year. South Korea had 55,761 bars registered as of the end of that month, a 6.1 percent decrease from 59,361 a year earlier, the tax agency said.

The number of bars had surpassed 60,000 in December 2015, but that figure has continued to decline since.

Of the 17 cities and provinces, Ulsan showed the most significant drop, of 10.9 percent, followed by Incheon with 10.1 percent and Seoul at 7.8 percent.

Revenue made by bar businesses has also been showing a downward trend, with the index dropping every month since July 2014, with the exception of June 2016. 

Sales in February had declined 4.2 percent from a year earlier.

The services output index for the liquor sector fell by 29.5 points to 70.5 points, down almost 30 percent, compared with the standard 100 points as of 2010. That marked the lowest level since 2000, the year in which Statistics Korea started tallying related data.

Monthly average expenditures on alcohol consumption, however, marked a record high of 12,109 won ($10.50) last year, suggesting that more people are drinking at home, and less people seem to crawling between bars, compared to the past.

By Shim Woo-hyun (

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Korea Herald daum