December 04, 2023 11:59
Sales at Hyundai Department Store in Yeouido that opened in February 2021 have surpassed W1 trillion this year (US$1=W1,306).
The retailer on Sunday said sales so far this year have already reached W1 trillion, the fastest pace any department store has ever reached the milestone. Before then Shinsegae Department Store in eastern Daegu held the record by achieving W1 trillion in annual sales six years after opening in late 2016.
The Yeouido branch is credited with revitalizing the area, which is the financial district of the capital and used to be deserted at the weekend. But now, it is bustling with visitors from both Korea and abroad.
Seo Yong-koo at Sookmyung Women's University said it "shows how an attractive retail store capable of attracting people can transform an area."
It opened to gloomy prediction at the height of the coronavirus lockdown and at a time when shopping generally was shifting online. Skeptics said busy stockbrokers and bankers will not have the time to go to the mall.
But Hyundai used that to its advantage, designing the store so that customers can relax from their busy lives as well as shop. Half of the total area of 89,100 sq.m consists of gardens and rest areas, with a 3,300 sq.m garden on the fifth floor.
"Yeouido is only crowded during rush hour Monday to Friday, which makes it an ideal place to shop at weekends or during the day," a staffer said.
The department store has ample space for K-pop events or pop-up stores, which has drawn more foreign visitors, whose numbers jumped nine times on-year during the first 11 months of this year. "The mall has become a must-see destination for tourists who are into K-pop," the staffer said.
The mall also attracts Instagrammers. A European-style Christmas village with giant Christmas trees and shops on the fifth floor admits only 100 people an hour, who have to book, and all slots were booked almost immediately. The staffer said some 5,000 visitors come every weekday and twice as many at the weekend.
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