Holiday-season sales tumble for South Korean duty-free stores

A sharp drop in tourists from China are blamed for a drop in holiday-season sales at South Korean duty-free stores, say industry officials.

Duty-free shops had prepared a range of promotions as China’s National Day holidays overlapped with the 10-day Chuseok holiday in South Korea, but despite China having more outbound travellers, sales were hit by the diplomatic row between Seoul and Beijing over a missile defense system, reports the Korea Herald.

Hotel Lotte’s duty-free unit says Lotte Duty Free sales in the first week of this month fell 15 per cent, with sales to Chinese nationals tumbling 25 per cent. Shilla Duty Free says sales at its Seoul outlets retreated about 10 per cent.

Chinese visitors to South Korea in the first eight months of this year fell 48.8 per cent to 2.87 million, a trend reflected during the holidays, according to Incheon Airport Corporation data.

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