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Korean Retailers Open Spate of Mega Malls as Competition Rises

The Hyundai Seoul. Hyundai.
Hyundai Department Store opened its largest location in Seoul in February. Hyundai.

South Korea’s three biggest department store operators have recently opened massive new shopping complexes, complete with indoor parks and scores of restaurants, Nikkei Asia reports.

Shinsegae opened its newest location, Shinsegae Art & Science, in the city of Daejeon on Friday. At the cost of 650 billion won ($555 million), it is the first new mega development for the company in five years. With 92,900-square-metres of retail space, the complex is more of a shopping mall than a department store. Services and restaurants occupy nearly half the area.

Lotte Department Store opened its new Dongtan branch on August 20. Food is the location’s biggest theme, with more than 100 restaurants on site. Many of them are popular eateries that have set up shop in a department store for the first time.

Dongtan, a suburb of Seoul, is close to an area known as South Korea’s Silicon Valley where Samsung Electronics, Naver and other tech companies have sites. High-rise condominiums being built in Dongtan are bringing high-income earners in their 30s and 40s to the area.

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Hyundai Department Store opened the largest facility in Seoul in February. Central to the project is an indoor park covering more than 3,000-square-metres.

Operating results have been strong during the first six months. Hyundai Department Store says its new location will “easily” surpass an annual sales target of 630 billion won ($541 million) in its first full year of operation.

Korea’s long-dominant department store players face increasing competition from an e-commerce industry that experienced a 25 percent jump in sales last year. Sales at department stores over the same period plunged 10 percent.

Learn more:

Seoul Department Stores Close Temporarily as Covid-19 Cases Surge

Shinsegae, Hyundai and Lotte are among the department store operators forced to temporarily close branches after employees tested positive for Covid-19.

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