Chinese Tourism Propels Lotte to No. 1 Retailer

      January 16, 2015 09:57

      The main branch of Lotte's duty-free shop in Sogong-dong, Seoul, led annual sales among Korean retailers last year, according to an industry tally on Thursday.

      Its sales exceeded those at the headquarters of Lotte Department Store as a surging number of Chinese tourists visited Korea while domestic consumption remained sluggish.

      The duty-free shop posted W1.9 trillion in sales in 2014, up some W400 billion from a year earlier. In comparison, the department store reported sales of W1.8 trillion, a similar level of the previous year, relinquishing the top spot it held from 1979 to 2013 to the duty-free shop.
       
      Overall, the duty-free business has grown dramatically in Korea. Duty-free sales surged 60 percent from W5.37 trillion in 2011 to W8.56 trillion in 2014. But department stores have seen little growth, with sales remaining almost stuck from W27.56 trillion in 2011 to W26.34 trillion for the first 11 months of last year.

      Lotte's success comes as the number of Chinese visitors increased 40 percent on-year. They spend an average US$1,431 per person on shopping here, twice the average for foreign tourists. 

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