Retail in Asia


South Korean duty free sales in October edge ahead

Duty free retail sales nationwide (excluding inflight retail) reached KRW1,329,247,041,579 (USD1.02 billion) in October, up just over +0.14 percent over September.

Customer numbers grew +2.7 percent to 2,157,243, indicating a softening of spend month-on-month. September, though, benefitted from the Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving) holidays (28 to 30 September). The leading travel retailers hosted big sales campaign to coincide with the festivities.

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Korean travel retailers are endeavouring to revitalise the market by introducing new brands. Pictured above is the Canada Goose pop-up at Incheon International Airport opened recently by Shinsegae Duty Free while French luxury jewellery brand Messika (pictured below at Lotte Duty Free World Tower) has just been added to the same retailer’s online offer.

Sales to foreigners rose +1.2 percent over September to KRW1,093,709,844,500 (USD837 million), well behind a +6.7 percent increase in customers to 680,920.

Sales to Koreans dropped -4.6 percent to KRW235,537,197,079 (USD180.2 million) despite a +1.9 percent month-on-month increase in customer numbers to 1,476,323.

“Overall sales were  sluggish due to the recession of China’s economy as well as in Korea,” an experienced Korean travel retail executive told The Moodie Davitt Report. “The daigou restrictions are also pressuring the wholesale business.

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“Sales to Koreans in September were buoyed by the Korean Thanksgiving holidays while Incheon airport International Airport sales are slowly recovering as the new concessions are opening stores step by step.”

Downtown sales dominated the market, representing 82.8 percent of sales. Foreign shoppers generated 92.8 percent of spending in this channel.