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[Newsmaker] Small business revenue bounces back amid ‘living with COVID-19’

Workers look for restaurants on the firts day of
Workers look for restaurants on the firts day of "living with COVID-19" on Nov. 1. (Yonhap)
Small business revenue has returned to pre-pandemic levels after the government kicked off the “living with COVID-19” scheme designed to gradually open up the economy, according to new data.

According to Korea Credit Data’s database on Monday, revenue from small businesses during the first week of November saw a 10.4 percent jump on average compared to the same time one year ago. It was also up 2.6 percent compared to the previous week.

Compared to the same week in 2019, before the COVID-19 pandemic, the figure was up 4.4 percent.

Korea Credit Data analyzes credit card transactions at over 800,000 business establishments as of July this year.

The ‘living with COVID-19’ scheme launched on Nov. 1.

Before the current phase began, the week ending on Sept. 26 had one of the highest daily transaction numbers ever -- over 3,200 -- but small businesses saw their revenues drop 6.3 percent compared to one year ago.

When broken down by sectors, food service did not receive as strong a boost from the government’s scheme as others.

While those in the retail and service sectors enjoyed an 11.5 percent and 9.4 percent increase during the first week of this month compared to two years ago, respectively, the restaurant sector saw a 3.1 percent drop over the same period.

It is recovering, however, as average revenue in the restaurant sector was 9.2 percent and 7.3 percent down during the last two weeks of October compared to 2019.

Buffets operated by small business owners were the hardest hit within the sector, as their revenue was down 33.8 percent during the first week of this month compared to two years ago.

Pubs and Korean restaurants saw their revenue jump by 2.4 percent and 0.2 percent, respectively as the two businesses recovered following the introduction of “living with COVID-19,” the data showed.

Revenues in the travel and transportation industries have yet to return to pre-pandemic levels despite the scheme, however, the data showed.

By Yim Hyun-su (hyunsu@heraldcorp.com)
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