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Shilla tops new duty-free shops in daily sales

South Korea’s five newly licensed duty-free stores in Seoul are seeing steady improvements in their daily revenue, with HDC Shilla and Hanwha in the lead so far, the companies said Tuesday.

HDC Shilla said its new duty-free store in Yongsan has been racking up some 1.1 billion won ($925,000) in daily sales since April. It opened on Mar. 25 as the first of the five new stores permitted to begin business this year.

Hotel Shilla president and CEO Lee Boo-jin looks around Shilla I’Park Duty Free store in Yongsan during the shop’s opening on March 25. (Yonhap)
Hotel Shilla president and CEO Lee Boo-jin looks around Shilla I’Park Duty Free store in Yongsan during the shop’s opening on March 25. (Yonhap)

“When our store first opened, our daily sales reached about 200 million won. Since then, our daily sales have surged to about 1.1 billion won in just months,” HDC Shilla spokesperson Yeom Chang-sun told The Korea Herald.

“At this rate, we expect to be posting some 2 billion won in daily sales by the end of this year,” he said, forecasting about 500 billion won in annual sales for 2016 and 1 trillion won for 2017.

HDC Shilla -- a 50:50 joint venture between Hotel Shilla and Hyundai Development -- plans to capitalize on the top-class luxury brands it will be offering, Hotel Shilla’s duty-free business know-how and its locational advantages in attracting more foreign tourists to its tax-free shop, Yeom said.

Shilla is scheduled to open new brand shops owned by the world’s largest luxury goods maker LVMH Moet-Hennessy Louis Vuitton starting from later this year. The remaining four newly licensed duty-free stores have yet to secure participation from LVMH.

Closely tailing behind Shilla is Hanwha Galleria, the duty-free business unit of Hanwha Group. The firm said its new shop inside the 63 Building in Yeouido, which opened on Dec. 28, has been posting around 600 million won to 700 million won in daily revenue since April.

“We expect our revenue to further grow, fueled by the reopening of the revamped 63 Building Aquarium in July as well as nearby attractions such as the Noryangjin Fish Market and the Hangang River Park,” said Hanwha Galleria spokesperson Lee Seung-joon.

Hanwha Galleria foresees annual sales of 400 billion to 500 billion won for 2016, similar to Shilla’s stated estimation.

Shinsegae Duty Free, which opened its new shop near Seoul’s tourist hot spot Myeong-dong on May 18, has been posting about 500 million won in daily revenue, a considerably high figure given the store just recently opened.

It currently offers a range of global luxury brands including Gucci, Saint Laurent, Bottega Veneta and Moncler for its new store, with efforts underway to bring in top luxury houses like Hermes, Chanel and Louis Vuitton.

Meanwhile, SM Duty Free in Insa-dong, which fully opened on Apr. 29, said it has been posting 450 million won in daily revenue.

Doota Duty Free, which opened on May 20 as a latecomer, said it would share its daily revenue in the near future, as it is “too early” to discuss such figures at this point.

By Sohn Ji-young (
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