December 29, 2016 / 2:01 AM / 8 months ago

S.Korea Nov department store sales post sharpest drop in nearly 1 year

SEOUL, Dec 29 (Reuters) - Sales at South Korea's department stores in November dropped at their fastest pace in nearly one year amid declining consumer sentiment and due to fewer public holidays, the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said on Thursday.

Combined sales last month at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae Co fell 2.8 percent from a year earlier.

That marked the biggest drop since a 5.7 percent decline in December 2015.

It was also the first sales decline in annual terms since the figure dropped by 2.7 percent in May.

The trade ministry said sales of household items and clothing fell 19 percent and 4.4 percent from a year earlier, respectively.

Discount store sales in November dropped 6.1 percent from a year earlier, after rising 0.9 percent in October.

Convenience store sales continued to grow, jumping 15.3 percent on-year following similar increases throughout this year.

Earlier on Thursday, South Korea lowered its growth outlook for next year as it sees weaker domestic demand and waning job growth holding back recovery in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

The government is projecting 2.6 percent economic growth in 2017, down from its earlier estimate of 3 percent, and below the Bank of Korea's 2.8 percent forecast, the finance ministry said.

Reporting by Cynthia Kim; Editing by Kim Coghill

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