A mall in western Seoul is full of shoppers, in this file photo taken May 16, 2021. (Yonhap)
A majority of South Korean retailers expect their business conditions to improve further in the third quarter of 2021 than three months earlier as more people get vaccinated against the new coronavirus, a poll showed Tuesday.
The Korean Chamber of Commerce and Industry said its retail business survey index (RBSI) stood at 106 for the July-September period, up from 103 three months earlier.
It marks the second consecutive quarter that the country's RBSI has remained above par. In the second quarter, the index slightly surpassed the benchmark for the first time since the COVID-19 outbreak in January last year.
The figure is based on a survey of some 1,000 retail businesses across the nation. A reading above 100 means that optimists outnumber pessimists.
The index for internet-based retailers was the highest at 115 thanks to increasing contact-free consumption and expectations that more anti-coronavirus vaccinations may boost consumer spending.
The RBSI for department stores surged to 107 from 96 over the period, the largest on-quarter increase among retail sectors that is expected to lead the industry's recovery.
Other offline retailers, however, were downbeat. The index for large discounters came to 98, with the number reaching 100 for convenience stores and 96 for supermarkets.
Retailers' sanguine sentiment comes as Asia's fourth-largest economy has been fast recovering from the fallout of the pandemic on brisk exports and domestic demand.
South Korean consumers remain upbeat about the economy. South Korea's consumer sentiment came to 110.3 for June, up 5.1 points from May and marking the sixth consecutive month of increase, according to the central bank. (Yonhap)