Coronavirus pandemic leads to double online food sale in South Korea

Seoul: South Korea's online food sale almost doubled last month as consumers refrained from moving outside their homes due to the coronavirus pandemic, a government report revealed on Monday.

Revenue by major online retailers jumped 34.3 per cent in February from a year earlier, Xinhua news agency quoted the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy report as saying.

It was the fastest increase since relevant data was first compiled in June 2016.

People refrained from travelling, shopping and other outside activities as the virus rapidly spread in the month.

The government encouraged people to stay at home and avoid social and religious gatherings.

The food sale by online retailers surged 92.5 per cent in February from a year earlier, and the household items sale soared 44.5 per cent on demand for hygiene items such as face masks and hand sanitizers.

Meanwhile, revenue by major offline retailers declined 7.5 per cent in the cited month, marking the second-biggest monthly reduction since the data began to be compiled.

Revenue by department stores and discount outlets tumbled 21.4 per cent and 10.6 per cent each, while convenient stores'' sales grew 7.8 per cent last month.

As of Monday, the total number of coronavirus cases in South Korea stood at 9,661, while the death toll rose to 158.

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