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Louis Vuitton opens first airport store

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Published : 2011-09-13 20:08
Updated : 2011-09-13 20:08

Incheon Airport expects opening to help attain goal of becoming No. 1 duty free stop


Louis Vuitton on Saturday opened its first-ever airport store at Incheon International Airport in partnership with Shilla Duty Free.

With the new opening of the 550-square-meter mega store, industry sources expected the French luxury brand would log an additional 70 billion won ($65 million) in annual sales.

Louis Vuitton had long refused to be situated within any airport in the world, citing difficulties in offering the best shopping experience to its customers.

Incheon Airport, however, was selected as the brand’s first airport location because of its world-class facilities and services, especially the fastest procedure for entry and departure, said Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, who attended the opening ceremony held on Saturday. 
VIPs attend a ribbon-cutting event for the new Louis Vuitton store at Incheon International Airport on Saturday. From left are Lee Boo-jin, CEO and president of Hotel Shilla, Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, Lee Chae-wook, CEO of Incheon International Airport, and Jean-Baptiste Debains, president of Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific. (Yonhap News)

“Environment is as important as products. The airport opening has been decided with the world’s best airport and luxury brand joining hands,” he said.

The CEO said a recent surge in Chinese and Japanese travelers using the airport was another decisive factor, adding that Korea is one of the company’s top four markets in the world.

In order to win the highly-publicized bid, the Shilla Duty Free, led by Lee Boo-jin, CEO and president of Hotel Shilla, had also promised the best and largest location.

The store is located between Gate 27 and 28 in the center of the airport building. And the site, which was previously occupied by some 140 passenger seats and a book shop, is almost four times larger than other high-end brand shops there, with some 100 shop assistants hired to serve customers.

Incheon International Airport Corporation also expected the Louis Vuitton opening would help the state-run airport to achieve early its goal of becoming the global No. 1 in duty free sales.

The airport is currently ranked third among international airports with 1.45 trillion won in sales last year.

By Lee Ji-yoon (jylee@heraldcorp.com)

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