The Shilla Duty Free has posted a 29 per cent year-on-year rise in second-quarter revenues for its Korean downtown stores, rebounding from the MERS-ravaged tourism sector at the same time last year.
Downtown store revenue climbed to KW538.2 billion (US$473.6 million) for the quarter, with growth outstripping the 23.5 per cent increase in the total Korean duty-free market, especially with higher competition after the government issued more licences last year.
However, Korean airport sales fell 19.2 per cent to KW198 billion, driven by a downturn in Incheon International Airport revenues because of reduced floor space.
Overseas duty-free revenues (mainly Singapore’s Changi Airport and Macau International Airport) rose by 16.3 per cent year-on-year to KW121.3 billion. However, Shilla posted a KW12.3 billion operating loss on its overseas stores, mainly because of the high cost of entry at Changi. This hit overall profits, which fell 51.4 per cent to KW15.4 billion. Even the Korean downtown business fell 39 per cent to KW27.7 billion.
A factor in that decline has been the rocketing costs of commissions to Chinese travel retail agents – up from between 7 and 100 per cent to around 23 per cent, according to The Moodie Davitt Report.
The Shilla Duty Free is the key revenue and profits contributor to parent Hotel Shilla, whose consolidated revenues rose 13 per cent year-on-year to KW954.1 billion, while operating profits fell 36.04 per cent to KW18.7 billion.