This file photo, taken Oct. 29, 2021, shows people looking around clothes at a department store in southern Seoul. (Yonhap)
Retails sales in 15 provinces and major cities in South Korea increased in the third quarter as people increased outdoor activity amid the vaccine rollout and the economic recovery, data showed Thursday.
Retail sales, a gauge of private spending, rose in nine provinces and six cities in the third quarter, except for the southeastern city of Ulsan, according to the data from Statistics Korea.
"The vaccine rollout helped improve consumer sentiment, and the government's provision of emergency cash handouts also boosted retail sales," the statistics agency said.
The resurgence in COVID-19 cases sapped domestic demand, but it does not appear to be serious enough to derail the economic growth.
Seoul -- home to about one-fifth of the country's 52 million population -- reported a 5.7 percent on-year gain in retail sales, and those in the second-largest city of Busan increased 5.9 percent, the data showed.
Combined service output rose in all 16 provinces and major cities for the second straight quarter in the July-September period.
Service output grew 3.9 percent on-year in the third quarter, compared with a 5.7 percent gain in the second quarter.
Of the 16 provinces and cities, Incheon, west of Seoul, reported the fastest on-year growth in service output with a 4.7 percent on-year gain.
The service sector was hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, but deep slumps in the in-person service segments, including accommodations and retailers, eased amid the economic recovery. (Yonhap)