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Duty-free sales surge to nearly 3-year high in April

Incheon Airport duty-free zone (IIAC)
Incheon Airport duty-free zone (IIAC)
Duty-free sales in South Korea jumped more than 50 percent in April to nearly a three-year high, signaling the industry's steady recovery toward the pre-pandemic level, government data showed Tuesday.

Combined sales at duty-free shops in Asia's fourth-largest economy increased 51.6 percent in April from a year earlier, according to the data from the Korean Statistical Information Service (KOSIS).

The figures mark the steepest monthly growth since 54.6 percent in May 2018.

Sales surged 108 percent for shoes and bags, and 37.9 percent for cosmetics.

In separate data by the Korea Duty Free Shops Association, the April duty-free sales stood at 1.56 trillion won ($1.4 billion).

"April sales made a steep increase on the baseline effect, considering how much the (duty-free) industry faltered last year," said an official of Korea Statistics, the operator of the KOSIS.

"However, the data can be seen as an indicator of the ongoing recovery in consumption," he said.

In April last year, the combined sales of local duty-free shops shrank 9.2 percent on-month to 986.7 billion won, largely as the number of visitors to duty-free outlets plunged amid the spreading new coronavirus pandemic. (Yonhap)

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