Sales at South Korea’s top department and discount stores declined for the third consecutive month in August from a year earlier, according to the country’s Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

Department stores run by the nation’s top three chain operators recorded a 6.9% decrease in August from a year ago – sharper than an earlier estimate by the finance ministry.

Sales at department stores run by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shinsegae were anticipated to fall 6.1% year-over-year in August.

The falling monthly retail sales underscore a deepening slump in domestic demand, reported Reuters.

South Korea’s discount stores run by the top three chain operators registered a 3.3% decrease in August on an annual basis – slightly better than a 3.5% fall initially estimated by the finance ministry.

The latest monthly decline was the longest spell of annual decrease in sales at both department and discount stores since the government began releasing data in early 2005.

Grocery sales were down by 3.7% on-year in August, while demand for clothing and daily household goods dropped 4.9% and 5.2% respectively in the month.

Miscellaneous products and sport-related goods sales decreased 1.6% and 0.2%, while sales of consumer electronics moved up just 0.2% in August from a year ago.

In July 2012, the country top three retail chain operators recorded a 1.3% drop from a year earlier at their stores.