S.Korea dept, discount store sales fall for fourth mth in September

SEOUL, Oct 9 (Reuters) - Sales at South Korea's top department and discount stores fell simultaneously for the fourth consecutive month in September, albeit at a marginal rate, marking the longest slump on record as the euro zone fiscal crisis undercuts consumer sentiment.

Sales at department stores run by the country's top three chain operators fell 0.1 percent in September from a year earlier, preliminary data released by the Ministry of Strategy and Finance showed on Tuesday, compared with a record 6.9 percent decline in August.

Sales at the country's top three discount store chains also fell 0.1 percent in September from a year earlier, compared with a 3.3 percent decline in August.

"Recovery in domestic consumption and investment sentiment is being delayed by continuing concerns about the slowing global economy," the ministry said.

The ministry also said sales of locally-produced automobiles fell by 3.1 percent in September from a year earlier following a 20.2 percent fall in August.

Gasoline sales in volume terms rebounded in September, however, growing 0.7 percent year-on-year after a 2.7 percent decline in August.

(Reporting By Se Young Lee; Editing by Eric Meijer)

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