Retail in Asia

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Korean department store market to top $25 billion this year


South Korea’s department store market is expected to top 30 trillion won ($25.6 billion) for the first time this year, forecast industry watchers.

The landmark figure will likely be reached 86 years after the peninsula’s first department store opened in Seoul in 1930.

The watchers said domestic department stores have managed to emerge from years of stagnation to post growth this year as leading players aggressively expanded stores and online distribution channels.

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The combined sales of local department stores are estimated to reach 31 trillion won in 2016, surpassing the landmark figure after reaching sales of over 20 trillion won in 2009, according to retail industry data.

The big three players — Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae — account for 80 percent of the market share, while Galleria, AK Plaza and other smaller brands hold the remaining share.

The market value has remained over 29 trillion won for the past four years amid weak domestic consumption and the rise of e-commerce marketplaces, but it grew this year after leading players stepped up investments in stores.

Shinsegae Department Store renovated its flagship store in the affluent Gangnam district in February, while opening new outlets in Hanam, south of Seoul, and Gimhae on the southeastern coast.

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Starfield Hanam is the nation’s largest shopping theme park that offers a wide variety of options for shopping, leisure and culinary experiences.

Hyundai Department Store said it posted strong sales since opening a mega store in Pangyo, south of Seoul, in August 2015.

“Despite the prolonged economic slowdown and changing consumption trend, the domestic department store market is expected to post growth this year thanks to new concept stores and the expansion of online channels,” said a Shinsegae Department Store official.

(Source: Korea Herald)