June 5, 2012 / 1:11 AM / 5 years ago

South Korea retail sales fall again in May

SEOUL, June 5 (Reuters) - South Korea's top retail outlets saw their sales in May fall for a second consecutive month from a year earlier, underscoring weakening domestic demand even as global demand cools for the country's exports.

Sales at the country's top department stores and discount stores fell 0.2 percent and 6.2 percent in May over a year earlier, respectively, after declines of 3.4 percent and 2.4 percent in April, the finance ministry said in a report on Tuesday.

It was rare for the monthly sales at both department and discount stores to suffer declines for two consecutive months and comes as South Koreans cut down spending in the face of the weakening economic growth.

On the brighter spot, sales of locally produced automobiles rose 0.7 percent in May from a year earlier, reversing two consecutive months of annual losses, the ministry said.

The report comes days before the central bank holds a monthly meeting on Friday to review interest rate policy, with the market's consensus still for the Bank of Korea to leave rates unchanged for a 12th consecutive month. (Reporting By Se Young Lee; Editing by Choonsik Yoo & Kim Coghill)

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