South Korea Heatwave: Economic costs of record-breaking temperatures
A heatwave in South Korea has been affecting the country in unexpected ways. CGTN's Jack Barton looks into how record-breaking temperatures have been impacting consumers and retailers there as well.
Perhaps the only thing worse right now than being the rare South Korean braving the heat wave to shop at street level or in a un-air-conditioned market, is being a retailer in the same locations watching profits turn to loss.
PARK DONG-MAN MARKET STORE OWNER, YONGIN CENTRAL MARKET "It's the first time I've ever experienced heat like. I've been here for 30 years, but it's the first time like this. Sales have fallen by 50 percent. People are not coming, they are just not coming."
JEONG DONG-NYEO MARKET STORE OWNER, YONGIN CENTRAL MARKET "There were no people coming. It was so hot that I hardly had business."
This summer has witnessed the highest day and night time temperatures in Korea since records began in 1907.
JACK BARTON YONGIN CENTRAL MARKET "The government is officially calling this heat wave a disaster situation. Officials say dozens of people have been killed by the heat with more than 2200 more taken to hospital with severe heatstroke."
Warming waters around the peninsula has also led to a falling catch for the fishing industry. Seafood prices have reportedly risen by up to 40 percent, putting pressure on retailers and restaurants. Fruit and vegetable prices have also spiked. But some big air-conditioned retailers are seeing profits soar as high as the outside temperatures.
YU-JEAN SHOPPER AT SHINSEGAE "This summer is too hot. Shopping in traditional markets is so hot, I have to go shopping in big supermarkets or large malls with good air-conditioning."
Shinsegae Department Stores' revenue for mid to late July surged 11 percent higher than the same period last year. While retail giant Lotte announced an almost identical hike at its department stores.
Many people, it seems, are not just shopping, but using the air con malls and department stores to hang out, catch up with friends and generally beat the heat wave, which meteorologists say will continue for at least another 10 days. Jack Barton, CGTN, Yongin in South Korea.