Korea’s biggest ever Festa sale kicks off amid pandemic


SEOUL, Nov. 01 (Yonhap) – South Korea on Monday kicked off its annual national shopping event as part of the latest effort to boost private spending amid the protracted pandemic.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy said 2,053 companies will be offering bargains both online and in stores at the Korea Sale Festa – Korea’s equivalent of Black Friday – which takes place. will run until November 15.

This year’s race is the largest since the event kicked off in 2016, according to the ministry.

The central government and the 17 local governments have also prepared various vouchers and promotional events to encourage buyers to open their wallets as the country tries to support private spending to maintain growth.

Tech giants, such as Samsung Electronics Co. and LG Electronics Co., are offering discounts of up to 40% on TVs, refrigerators and several other items. Major automakers including Hyundai Motor Co. and Renault Samsung Motors Corp. have prepared special discounts and giveaways for consumers.

Fashion brands are offering up to 80% off on various products, while hundreds of cosmetic companies, furniture makers and food companies have various deals.

Department stores, major e-commerce sites, convenience stores and other retailers have also offered various events and deals to attract customers, according to the ministry.

The festival takes place as domestic demand has been shaken by the coronavirus pandemic.

In the third quarter, private spending fell 0.3% from three months earlier, against a gain of 3.6% quarter on quarter in the second quarter, according to the Bank of Korea.

Economic growth also slowed during the July-September period despite robust exports mainly due to weak private consumption, sparking fears that the country might miss its 4.2% growth target for the year.

The festival also coincided with the start of the first phase of the country’s “living with COVID-19” plan, marked by relaxed social distancing rules.

On Monday, South Korea began phasing out tightened antivirus restrictions, under which COVID-19 will be treated as an infectious respiratory disease, like the seasonal flu.

“The event comes at a time when there is a need for hot consumption which will be a boost for both buyers and sellers,” Prime Minister Kim Boo-kyum said on Sunday after attending a ceremony. marking the opening of the event. “I hope the shopping festival will serve as the first step towards economic recovery for ordinary people.”

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