SEOUL, Dec. 24 (Korea Bizwire) – A joint venture between Hotel Shilla and Hyundai Development partially opened their new duty-free store in downtown Seoul on Thursday, gearing up for a grand opening in March.
The outlet 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 the 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.
The pre-opening presented about 400 brands on three floors spanning 16,500 square meters, and the operator plans to showcase 200 more brands at the grand opening in March.
“The initial opening involved cosmetic brands and luxury watches preferred by Chinese customers as well as Korean beauty products, which is expected to raise about 90 percent of the sales target before the full opening,” the joint venture said in a released statement.
HDC Shilla stated it will cooperate with the local community to develop various tourism content and facilities for foreign travelers to make the shopping mall a tourist attraction.
Shilla Hotel is the nation’s No. 2 duty-free operator following Hotel Lotte, which is led by Lee Boo-jin, the eldest daughter of Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee.
Local retailers have stepped up their bid to open new duty-free shops as a growing influx from China has shed a rare bright spot in the local retail sector grappling with sagging sales amid a weak economy.
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.