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South Korean duty-free retailers shutter downtown stores

South Korean duty-free retailers are temporarily shuttering metropolitan stores in response to a significant decline in tourist numbers caused by the coronavirus epidemic.

Numerous outlets at prime tourist destination Jeju Island will be closed this month. A Lotte Duty Free store that has already been operating under reduced hours since February will close pending the resolution of the crisis. Hotel Shilla’s store, which has suspended trading on weekends and holidays throughout the outbreak, will cease trading for a fixed one-month period.

Jeju Island tourism has faltered significantly in recent months under heavily reduced international flights, with a 99.2 per cent drop in foreign tourist numbers year-on-year during April.

The South Korean duty-free retailers shuttering stores also include Shinsegae Duty Free’s locations in Gangnam and Busan will close on Sundays and Mondays from this month on, while airport duty free stores under all local operators are largely closed for business at this time.

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