The Korea Herald

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[SUPER RICH] Hyundai Dept. Store chief diversifies portfolio

By Suk Gee-hyun

Published : March 17, 2015 - 21:02

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Hyundai Department Store is fast moving to expand its presence and diversify its portfolio, signing two real estate deals in succession.

As the company eyes the tightly contested market, Hyundai Department Store Group chairman Chung Ji-sun is also increasing his public presence. While Chung is a member of the famous Chung Ju-yung family, he has for the large part kept a low profile.

While a department store opening new branches is nothing new, Hyundai Department Store has taken on the unusual strategy of renting existing buildings.

In one of the deals, signed Sunday, Hyundai rented the 13-story Cerestar Department Store in Dongdaemun.
 
Chung Ji-sun. (Illustration by Park Gee-young) Chung Ji-sun. (Illustration by Park Gee-young)

With the combined floor space of nearly 40,000 square meters, the facility is larger than the main Hyundai Department Store in southern Seoul.

With the newly rented facility, the company hopes to enter the bidding for a duty-free store in Seoul in June.

Although the company is considering its stores in Seoul’s Samseong-dong and Sinchon as potential locations for duty free stores, Hyundai Department Store is said to be now leaning toward the Dongdaemun location.

The strategy, which has yet to be formalized, is thought to have been driven by the number of Chinese tourists drawn to the Dongdaemun area.

If Hyundai Department Store wins the bid to operate a duty-free store, part of the Cerestar building will be turned over to duty-free shopping, while other parts of the property will be developed into a shopping mall.

As part of its plans for diversifying its portfolio, the company established a task force to review related plans in 2012.

As a result, the company declared its intention to bid for the right to operate a new duty-free store in Seoul last month. Hyundai also plans to establish a separate corporation for its duty-free business within March.

In addition to the preparations for entering the market for duty-free shopping, Hyundai Department Store is rolling out measures to consolidate its presence in western Seoul.

On March 13, the company signed a contract to operate D-Cube Department Store in southwestern Seoul, which will operate as a Hyundai store from May.

Once the new department store goes into operation, Hyundai Department Store will have 14 department stores across the country.

By Suk Gee-hyun (monicasuk@heraldcorp.com)