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South Korea shoppers go online as coronavirus spreads

By Nam Gyeong-sik, UPI News Korea
South Korea shoppers go online as coronavirus spreads
Websites of South Korean retailers struggle to meet the rising demand for daily necessities as shoppers stuck at home purchase more goods online. Screenshot via UPI News Korea

SEOUL, Feb. 25 (UPI) -- Online retail sales have skyrocketed in South Korea, where the coronavirus outbreak is keeping people out of stores.

The boon covers mostly daily necessities and immune-boosting items, retailers reported.

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Lotte Mart, the country's third-largest discount chain, said Monday its online sales jumped 50 percent between Wednesday and and Sunday, compared to the same period the year before.

SSG.com, an online shopping mall of retail giant Shinsegae Group, said its sales jumped at a double-digit rate this month.

CJ CheilJedang, a Seoul-based food company, said online sales of its grilled fish products doubled this month year-on-year.

The spike in orders has also caused websites to crash and created logistical bottlenecks and delayed deliveries.

Coupang, South Korea's top e-commerce platform, crashed after being swamped with four times more orders as usual in some regions.

South Korea has seen hundreds of new COVID-19 infections a day, the largest cluster outside China, where the outbreak began in December.

By Tuesday, the number of cases in South Korea neared 1,000, with 11 deaths reported. The country raised its virus alert to the highest level on Sunday.

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