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Korean retailers aim to cash in on Chinese golden week

Korean retailers are launching promotions to target Chinese golden week, which starts Saturday.

Industry sources expect that more than 2 million Chinese people will travel abroad during the seven-day holiday starting on Oct. 1, China’s national foundation day.

With tens of thousands of Chinese tourists expected to visit Korea during the period, major department stores are seeking to bounce back after this summer’s poor sales.

Lotte Department Store will install a pop-up store called “Korean Wave Expo” from Sept. 30 to Oct. 4.

Park Jong-chul, a fashion designer, who has offered his outfits to K-Pop stars such as TVXQ, will display and sell about 150 fashion items.

Lotte has already added 10 interpreters at its main store staff in Myeong-dong, one of the most popular tourist shopping areas in central Seoul.

Lotte in June became the nation’s first retailer to earn a fair-trade certification from China National Tourism Administration.

“Recently, the number of Chinese customers has exceeded that of Japanese. Their importance in sales continues to grow,” said a Lotte official.

Hyundai Department Store will also hold a holiday promotion at its Gangnam stores in Apgujeong-dong and Samsung-dong, offering gift cards to Chinese customers paying with China’s Union Pay credit card.

Shinsegae Department Store has launched the Union Pay platinum card for Chinese VIP customers in a recent exclusive partnership with the credit card company.

In China, the premium card, whose annual fee is priced at some 700,000 won ($600), is issued only to high-income Chinese people who spend 35 million won or more per year.

“Considering they are big spenders, local brands such as cosmetic products and red ginseng as well as luxury goods are expected to enjoy benefits,” said an official of a local department store.

By Lee Ji-yoon (