|Lotte Duty Free Shop outlet in Seoul. (Lotte DFS)|
According to the Nihon Keizai Shimbun, the duty-free store unit of South Korean conglomerate Lotte will open its first shop inside Kansai International Airport near Osaka by March of next year at the latest.
“The airport authorities decided to invite Lotte Duty Free Shop, which is famous not only among Koreans and Japanese but also Chinese, to help fulfill the Japanese government’s goal for attracting 20 million visitors (a year) to the country by 2020,” the newspaper reported. About 5 million people visit Kansai Airport every year.
The advancement into the Japanese market is a significant milestone for Lotte, which has been struggling against the Korean government’s regulations on conglomerates’ business expansion.
Lotte, which holds 80 percent domestic market share alongside its market rival and Samsung affiliate Shilla, pulled out from bidding for a spot in the prestigious Jeju International Airport DFS earlier this year in an attempt to show dedication for the government’s policy to nurture small-to-mid size corporations in the industry. However, the opportunity went to another conglomerate, Hanwha.
“The only way to seek growth is by going overseas,” a Lotte insider said.
Lotte Duty Free Shop in 2013 posted 3.5 trillion won in sales ($3.45 billion) from 10 outlets in Korea as well as ones in Singapore and Indonesia. The company opened another in Guam in April and is reportedly vying to run another at the Sydney Airport.
By Bae Ji-sook (firstname.lastname@example.org)