Pop up stores change Korea retail face

More and more specialised retailers or service providers – ranging from barbershops to paint stores – are making appearances inside Korean department stores.

These special shops are appearing as pop up stores rather than taking up permanent residence. The phenomenon is the result of retailers choosing pop up stores to publicise their brands, which allows them to avoid sales pressure that comes with leasing permanent space in a department store.

Lotte Department store has opened a Club Monaco Men’s shop. The barbershop Herr’ has been added to the already existing select shop, offering consulting services related to style and haircuts. The barbershop is also offering customers a traditional English wet shaving. It is the first time for a barbershop to enter an apparel store, which makes the ‘special store’ extra special.

A pop up store called Men’s AGIT gathered many popular hobby goods such as cameras, camera accessories, drones, plastic figures and RC cars in one spot.

Another notable pop up store is the ‘Home and Tones’ shop at Hyundai Department Store. Since the number of people redecorating their homes by themselves has increased, Samhwa Paint has been managing a pop up store since September 7. Eco friendly paints, as well as paint that turns into a blackboard when applied are exhibited, and paint that can be mixed on-site through toning machines, are drawing the attention of consumers.

The ’99 Avant’ pop up store sells the creations of young artist Han Seung-woo. Hyundai department store officials say that the pop up store is gaining positive reaction from customers as they can communicate with the artist in person.

Shinsegae department store made space on its sixth floor just for pop up stores. Many brands including whiskey brand Balvenie’s ‘craft lounge’, shoe care brand ‘Resh’, and BMW’s Mini cars and bicycles have all opened pop up stores at the location.

Shinsegae officials mentioned that the sales of pop up stores are threatening sales at official stores.

“Now, already existing brands are also using popup stores as a method to introduce their new products. Department stores are also benefitting from the pop up stores because various brands can be presented so customers have no time to be bored.”


  • By Lina Jang. Image courtesy of Yonyap.



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