The shopping and dining complex at Incheon International Airport was the highest-earning single commercial facility in the country last year, dethroning the main branch of Lotte Department Store, which had been the leader since 1980.
According to the final figures released on Thursday, the airport's duty free shops, restaurants and other facilities posted combined sales of W1.597 trillion in 2010, slightly ahead of the Lotte main branch with W1.54 trillion.
While the department store's sales jumped 5 percent compared to the year before, the airport's commercial complex saw its sales surge 20 percent thanks to skyrocketing numbers of travelers.
"The result stems from the drastic cut in immigration control queues, which enabled travelers to enjoy more time shopping," said the airport's CEO Lee Chae-wook. "We are a close third in the world in terms of sales after London Heathrow and Dubai, and our goal for this year is to become No. 1."
A Lotte spokesperson said a direct comparison with the airport makes little sense because the customer bases and goods on sale are totally different.