August 03, 2019 08:20
Affordable cosmetics shops are shutting down one by one due to dwindling foreign customers and a gradual switch to online shopping. For now they are being replaced by shoe or sports apparel shops in Seoul's major shopping districts like Myeong-dong and Hongik University areas.
According to a report by global realtors Cushman & Wakefield last week, the number of cosmetics shops in Myeong-dong shrank from 81 in the second quarter of last year to 76 in the first quarter of this year.
But as of the first quarter of this year, there were 22 shoe and sports apparel shops in Myeong-dong and 27 in Hongik University areas. Footwear retailer ABC Mart is operating five shops in Hongik University areas and four in Myeong-dong. British retailer JD Sports entered the Korean market in April last year and has also opened new outlets in Seoul.
Industry insiders say sneakers are replacing cheap cosmetics as the mainstay of the shopping hubs. According to the Korea Federation of Textile Industries, Korea's training shoe market grew from W2.45 trillion in 2012 to W3.5 trillion in 2018 (US$1=W1,200).
Sneakers accounted for 53 percent of the total shoe market in 2017 thanks to more leisure time as the working week got shorter and the spread of more casual attire at work.
One unique feature of shoes is that people mostly still need to try them on, so offline retailers are less threatened by the online competition.
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