South Korean convenience stores continued their modest growth last year on the back of a demographic change in the country, a growing number of single households, and the variety of items sold, industry data showed on Sunday.
Industry leader CU and its smaller rivals such as GS25 have emerged as a key retail outlet in the country by dwarfing their bigger and traditional retail channels in expansion, South Korea's News Agency (Yonhap) reported.
CU, run by BGF Retail Co., posted 3.37 trillion won (US$3.05 billion) in sales last year, up 7.6 percent from a year earlier, with its operating income also spiking 18 percent on-year to 124 billion won and the number of its outlets rising by 469 to 8,408.
"Rising demand for our own brands, combined with cost-cutting measures, helped boost our overall sales," an official at BGF Retail said.
Local convenience stores have introduced their own store brands, known in the country as "private brands," which have an edge over traditional and multinational labels in terms of price and costs.
They have also been shifting away from their conventional product mix of instant food and drinks to non-food items to foster loyal customers.
GS25, managed by retail giant GS Retail, logged a 8.8-percent growth in its 2014 sales at 3.5 trillion won, while suffering a 7.7-percent fall in its operating income at 111 billion won.
The number of its outlets rose 516 last year to reach 8,290, according to the data.
Korea Seven's convenience stores rose to 7,230 last year, up 139 from a year earlier, the data showed.