The gap between the ″haves″ and the ″have－nots″
is widening in Korea… as it′s in most countries around the world.
Korea′s richest ten percent are spending more on designer brands and luxury goods，…
while most people are cutting back on the basics.
Kwon Soa reports. The polarization of spending habits in Korea
is getting worse… as the nation′s low and mid－income earners struggle to get by，…
while the rich continue to enjoy the good times despite the sluggish economy.
Data released by the retail industry on Wednesday shows first quarter sales at large retailers，…
popular among consumers who tend to watch their pennies，… mostly declined compared
to one year ago. Lotte Mart， the second－biggest retailer
in the country，… posted a three percent drop in sales，… and Homeplus，… an
almost one percent dip，.. while E－mart， the nation′s number one retailer，… saw
sales edge up a mere zero－point－eight percent.
Breaking it down，… E－mart′s fashion and grain sales in March both plunged by over
ten percent on－year. Fisheries and processed food fell by nine
and three percent， respectively. The big supermarkets have tried to boost sales
by reducing the price of everyday products such as milk，… but the figures speak for
themselves… as sales managers say the strategies weren′t that effective.
On the other hand，… sales of more expensive products，… like imported spices and vegetables
weren′t that affected. That trend is even clearer when we look at
sales at two of Korea′s high－end department stores， Lotte and Hyundai.
They recorded gains of between eight and 15 percent in their luxury designer label sales.
This reflects a recent study which shows Korea′s richest ten percent own half of the nation′s
wealth. ″Department stores and distributors these
days are focusing more of their efforts on marketing strategies targeting VVIPs， as
their consumption takes up a considerable amount of sales.″
Some examples of this include special campaigns for products like expensive desserts and premium
coffee，… and that′s raising concerns that spending trends will become even more
polarized. Kwon Soa， Arirang News.