South Korean department stores set to smash sales record

South Korean department stores are tipped to chalk up sales of more than 30 trillion won (US$25.6 billion) for the first time this year.

That would make if 86 years since the country’s first department store opened in 1930.

Industry commentators say the figure reflects the retail category’s emergence from “years of stagnation” to return to growth as they pursue new alliances, an expanded food offer and eCommerce.

Lotte, Hyundai and Shinsegae account for 80 per cent of the Korean department stores market with Galleria, AK Plaza and smaller brands hold the remainder.

Just seven years ago, department store sales surpassed the 20 trillion won barrier – this year’s projection is 31 trillion, a remarkable growth rate by any measure, especially considering sales stagnated at 29 trillion won for the last four years.


“Despite the prolonged economic slowdown and changing consumption trend, the domestic department store market is expected to post growth this year thanks to new concept stores and the expansion of online channels,” a Shinsegae Department Store official told Yonhap news service.

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