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Lotte Duty Free closes store at Gimpo airport

(Lotte Duty Free)
(Lotte Duty Free)

Lotte Duty Free, South Korea’s biggest duty-free retailer by sales, said Thursday it will temporarily close its store at Gimpo International Airport amid a rapid decline in number of passengers over COVID-19 spread. 

The outlet at Gimpo airport is largely used by passengers who travel on short-distance routes to Japan, China and Taiwan. 

But due to the suspension of such routes over coronavirus concerns, the number of flights plummeted to one to two flights per day as of Monday, compared to an average of 24 daily flights in January. 

Considering the situation, Lotte Duty Free said it has discussed with the airport operator Korea Airports Corp. to temporarily shut down its outlet at the airport. The resumption of operations has not been decided yet, Lotte said, and will be confirmed based on the restart of flights. 

The company also said that it has reduced the operation hours of five downtown duty-free stores. They now operate from 9:30 a.m. to 5:40 p.m. 

Meanwhile, amid dwindling departing passengers, the association of local duty-free retailers sent a statement to airport operators last month to temporarily exempt rent and sales operation fees until the virus outbreak is contained. 

By Kim Da-sol (ddd@heraldcorp.com)
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