January 25, 2021 12:39
The vacancy rate among stores in Seoul's once-popular Myeong-dong shopping district has increased almost fivefold over the year of coronavirus, and one in five stores is empty.
Global estate agents Cushman & Wakefield analyzed key commercial districts in the capital on Friday and found that the vacancy rate in Myeong-dong stood at a whopping 21 percent in the second half of last year, up 8.2 percentage points from the first half.
Compared to a year earlier, the vacancy rate surged almost fivefold.
The district was hit hardest by the death of tourism. The number of foreign tourists declined 96.3 percent as of last October compared to the same period of 2019. That means the end for many stores selling cosmetics, souvenirs and clothes to Chinese and other visitors.
Vacancy rates increased in all major commercial districts in Seoul, including the trendy Garosugil in Sinsa-dong (14.2 percent), Hongik University area (11.2 percent), Itaewon (10.6 percent) and Gangnam subway station area (6.2 percent). Restaurants were hit particularly hard.
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