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

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South Korean restaurants empty as coronavirus fears spread

South Korean consumers are opting to avoid crowded places, causing restaurant bookings to plunge by as much as half as fears grow of the spreading coronavirus.

Japanese chocolatier Royce quits South Korea

Japanese chocolatier Royce is shuttering its operations in South Korea, closing all nine of its locations in the territory, including five shops in Seoul by the end of next month.

Apple and Levi’s follow Starbucks, Ikea with China store closures

Apple and Levi’s joined the growing list of international retailers shuttering stores in Mainland China as the infection rate and death toll from the coronavirus continued to grow over the weekend.

International merchants embracing Chinese mobile payments, says report

A new survey by Alipay and Nielsen has found overseas merchants are actively exploring digital operations via Chinese mobile payments to increase sales and customer traffic.

South Korea’s foodservice industry thriving despite rumours

Rumours that South Korea’s foodservice industry is in a slump have been scotched by new data showing the sector is actually growing at a steady 9 per cent annually And it’s the thriving coffee sector which is driving much of the growth. Analysts say the gap between business sentiment and the real economy is widening as the polarisation between sectors is deepening.

Crocs signs up A-listers as brand ambassadors

Casual footwear brand Crocs has added five new global ambassadors as it launches the fourth year of its Come As You Are global marketing campaign.

Hyundai Department Store aims to eliminate paper receipts

Hyundai Department Store says it will launch an electronic receipt issuance service with the aim of “zero” paper receipts within three years. Electronic receipts will be issued in the form of the automatic issuance of receipts through mobile applications instead of paper receipts when purchasing goods. Last year, about 160 million paper receipts were issued by Hyundai Department …

GS25 opens futuristic c-store concept

South Korean convenience-store chain GS25, owned by GS Retail, has opened a futuristic convenience store without a checkout counter in Jung District, Seoul this week. The store, which is located in the headquarters building of a local credit card company BC Card, is similar to Amazon Go, checkout-free offline malls in the US. One can enter the convenience store by scanning a BC Paybo…

South Korean beauty firms flourish as hopes rise of end to China sanctions

Stocks of major South Korean cosmetics and duty-free operators traded higher yesterday amid hopes that China may lift its retaliatory economic measures under way for years against Seoul’s decision to deploy a US anti-missile system there. AmorePacific, the country’s largest cosmetics maker, closed at 232,000 won (US$200), up 5.22 per cent from the previous session’s close, after touching as high as 236,000 won, the highest…

Emart to axe Pierrot discount-store chain

Emart is to shut down its Pierrot discount-store chain to focus on luring customers to its mainstay hypermarkets.

Shinsegae department store sets sales record as foreigners splurge in Gangnam

Shinsegae Department Store says its outlet in Gangnam, an affluent area in southern Seoul, reported US$1.7 billion in accumulated sales last year.

Robots replace staff in South Korean chain Genesis BBQ

Genesis BBQ, a major South Korean fried-chicken chain, opened a new ‘smart store’ in Seoul’s Songpa District this month. There are no employees to take orders at the store. Instead, there are tablet PCs on each table that are used to order food. The food made in the kitchen is then served by food bots, self-driving robots that deliver the food to the customers.