Inside Retail Asia breaking news, supplier information, product launches and consumer campaigns within the Korean retail sector.

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Korea’s E-mart tackles China – again

South Korea’s largest discount chain, E-mart, is to start selling on Alibaba’s T-mall in a fresh attempt to break into China’s seemingly impenetrable online market. The Korean company believes the Alibaba-powered online shopping mall is the key to success after previous attempts to crack the China market flopped. From mid-March, E-mart will sell about 100 food and electronic products, including rice cookers and soybean paste on Tmall Global. E-mart would be joining other South Kor…

Shilla Singapore takeover complete

Changi Airport’s duty free retail business takeover is now complete: Shilla Singapore formally opens.

Record slump in Korea retail sales

Sales at Korea’s leading department store groups fell by nearly 10 per cent in January.

Mothercare enters Korea

Babywear retailer Mothercare is to launch in South Korea. The UK-based company has entered into a franchise agreement with Homeplus, a local supermarket chain owned by Tesco, to open retail stores and an eCommerce site. South Korea becomes the 17th Asian market for Mothercare. Four shops will initially open in Seoul, Suwon, Daejeon and Bucheon next month. Products will be sold online in a subsection of the Homeplus online store. “South Korea is a country we have been looking to ser…

Hotel Shilla in Korea duty free bid

By Lina Jang of Korea Bizwire Hotel Shilla is aiming to take over DFASS, the world’s largest in-flight duty-free specialty retailer, to expand its duty-free business to on-board duty-free shopping. According to retail industry experts in Korea, Hotel Shilla selected Goldman Sachs as the managing underwriter for its acquisition of DFASS, and is now fine-tuning the detailed conditions for the purchase of controlling rights, such as the sales price. The hotel currently runs its duty-free…

Malaysian cable TV enters retail JV

Malaysian cable TV operator Astro has entered a joint venture with South Korean multimedia retailer GS Home Shopping. And Astro is projecting sales of RM500 million (US$143 million) annually by 2019 after the service has gained critical mass. Astro will own 60 per cent of the joint venture, Go Shop, which will operate 24-seven on TV and online. The service was soft launched in a trial last November. Datuk Rozalila Abdul Rahman, CEO of the JV, said the key to the concept’s success will…

C-store chain offers unique convenience

Convenience stores are all about acquiring essentials and treats quickly and efficiently. But Korea’s largest chain CU is expanding the definition. Add to the food and grocery menu private lockers and meeting rooms. The lockers, as the above image from the Korea Times website shows, are designed to be a convenient place for travellers and nightclubbers to secure their belongings while they indulge their pastimes. BFG Retail, franchisor of CU (formerly trading under the Family Mart ban…

Hawaiian coffee concept lands in Seoul

A Hawaiian coffee concept already popular in Tokyo has now made its debut in Korea. Lanai Cafe is a Hawaiian Kona Coffee shop serving coffee, pancakes, desserts and drinks. Kona is ranked as one of the world’s top three coffee beans alongside Jamaican Blue Mountain and Kenyan Kilimanjaro. It is brewed by pour over for each cup which draws its unique aroma and flavour. The pancakes are also baked on site to a Hawaiian recipe. The new store is located in Seoul’s trendy Gangnam-…

Korean d-store sales slide

South Korea’s department store industry is still struggling to arrest falling sales as consumers tighten spending and turn to online. New figures released by the trade ministry Tuesday show sales at top department and discount stores in December fell at a sharper rate than initially expected – by 0.9 per cent compared with the earlier projected 0.3 per cent. That makes the fourth successive month that combined sales from stores managed by Hyundai Department Store, Lotte Shopping and Shin…

Korean importer to launch liquor chain

South Korea’s Shinsegae Group is to launch a chain of retail liquor stores. The company’s liquor division, Shinsegae L&B, has until now focused on wholesaling popular imported beer and wine brands to retailers. Now it plans a chain of stores aiming at the higher end of the market, trading under the banner Wine & More, offering brands which are not so easy to find in existing mainstream outlets. The stores will be located inside its Shinsegae department stores and shopping centr…

Retail sales slip further in Korea

Retail sales at South Korea’s department stores fell for the fourth consecutive month in December. Data from the Finance Ministry, collected from department stores owned by Hyundai, Lotte and Shinsegae, shows sales were down 0.3 per cent year on year. However, the Finance Ministry said on Friday that while year on year data showed a drop, there was continued evidence of retail sales across the nation recovering when measured on a month to month basis, since the significant fall last Septem…

Tesco mum on Asia

Tesco investors have been left none the wiser on the retail giant’s plans for its Asian operations after the much anticipated quarterly briefing Thursday. But the news was not great overall for the Asian business in the 19 weeks to January 3. In Asia, total sales declined by 1.5 per cent at constant rates, with like-for-like sales declining by 4.6 per cent. Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said in a statement that market conditions across the region “remain challenging”. “In Thailand, sa…