The Korea Herald


Shinsegae’s 55-year-old heir promoted to chair

By Hwang Joo-young

Published : March 8, 2024 - 17:27

    • Link copied

Shinsegae Group's new Chair Chung Young-jin (Shinsegae Group) Shinsegae Group's new Chair Chung Young-jin (Shinsegae Group)

South Korean retail giant Shinsegae Group said Friday that it has promoted Chung Yong-jin, the 55-year-old son of the conglomerate’s Chair Lee Myung-hee, to chair with a mission to address the challenges in the country’s retail sector.

"The increasingly competitive retail market is facing a wide variety of crisis factors, making 'strong leadership' even more necessary than in the past,” said Shinsegae in a statement released Friday.

The promotion came 18 years after Chung took office as vice chair in 2006 to oversee the conglomerate’s retail, food and hotel businesses. Chung joined the group in 1995.

Chung's 80-year-old mother, Lee Myung-hee, will continue to provide managerial support, retaining her position as general chairperson of the conglomerate.

Amid fierce competition from local e-commerce giant Coupang and Chinese e-commerce platforms like AliExpress and Temu, Shinsegae has grappled with fortifying its business and exploring new growth opportunities.

Last year, Shinsegae posted combined sales of 35.8 trillion won ($27.1 billion) in the department store and discount store businesses, marking a 3.5 percent decrease from the previous year's 37.1 trillion won.

Of note, Shinsegae's supermarket chain Emart -- which holds the country’s top supermarket chain position -- experienced an annual operating loss for the first time despite achieving record sales of 29.4 trillion won on a consolidated basis.

Coupang, however, achieved a significant milestone with a nearly 20 percent increase in sales -- reaching 31.8 trillion won -- from the previous year's 26.5 trillion won. This sales figure also set a new record for the company.