SEOUL, March 25 (Korea Bizwire) – HDC Shilla Duty Free, a joint venture between Hotel Shilla and Hyundai Development, officially opened its new duty-free store in central Seoul on Friday, featuring 200 more brands four months after its pre-opening.
The new outlet spanning 16,500 square meters is located in the Hyundai I’Park Mall in Yongsan, the railway hub nestled in between key tourist spots scattered north and south of the Han River.
Shilla Hotel, a hotel chain under South Korea’s biggest conglomerate Samsung Group, is in charge of running duty-free shops, while Hyundai Development, a local builder that owns the mall, remodeled the space and interior.’
In addition to some 400 brands presented during the pre-opening in December, HDC Shilla opened 200 more fashion, jewelry and cosmetic stores for the grand opening.
The company has tried to host the big three luxury brands — Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton– over the past months, but they were not included the list.
Company officials said they will continue negotiations with top luxury brands to offer a wide range of options to customers.
“The duty-free shop has enjoyed popularity among travelers since its pre-opening thanks to convenient transportation, shopping infrastructure and restaurants for travelers,” the company said, estimating up to 600 billion won (US$512.8 million) in sales from opening additional shops.
“Some luxury brands have yet opened shops…But we will be able to achieve the sales goal when we additionally host high-end brands and open an online duty-free shop.”
Shilla Hotel led by Lee Boo-jin, the eldest daughter of Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee is the nation’s No. 2 duty-free operator following Hotel Lotte. Local retailers have stepped up their bid to open new duty-free shops to draw a growing influx from China amid sluggish domestic consumption.
The duty-free market has been posting double-digit growth for the past five years, compared with crawling sales growth at department stores and hypermarkets.