Hanwha Galleria, the retail unit of South Korean conglomerate Hanwha, says it will partially open its first duty-free store in downtown Seoul next week.
About 60 per cent of the trading floor of the new store, located at the base of the gold-tinted 63 City Building in Yeouido will open for business on December 28.
The target customers: cashed up Chinese tourists now flocking to Korea in increasing numbers.
The rest of the store will open in June.
The pre-opening will showcase 369 brands, including cosmetics, watches and jewellery, on four floors, with nearly half of them being Korean brands.
Although Hanwha said it has been working on attracting global luxury brands to the store, it has made little progress.
“Although we want to have (luxury brands) in the stores, they are not yet considering opening new shops, thinking they have enough shops (in South Korea),” Hwang Yong-deuk, CEO of Hanwha Galleria, said during a briefing.
The company said it will continue negotiations to house global brands when Lotte World Tower, a duty-free store by retail giant Lotte, closes its outlet this month after losing its operating license in a recent bid.
Hanwha vowed to step up its bid to expand its duty-free business down the road, adding it is targeting 504 billion won (US$429.6 million) in sales at the new store next year.
- Original source, image: Yonhap, via Korea Bizwire.