APEC holiday boosts sales at S. Korean retailers


SEOUL, Nov 11 – South Korean duty free shops and discount chains got a boost from Beijing’s six-day special holiday for a regional summit as Chinese tourists visited the country for a shopping spree, industry data showed Tuesday.

Lotte Duty Free, the country’s biggest duty free shop operator, saw sales at its Seoul branches soar 70 percent on-year in the Nov. 1-9 period.

“Weekend sales surged as Chinese shoppers visited during the APEC holiday. The trend is likely to continue into next year’s Chinese New Year holiday,” said a company official.

China is hosting this year’s annual regional summit and has declared Nov. 7-12 as a special holiday for the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum.

No. 2 player Shilla Duty Free said its sales from Nov. 7-9 surged roughly 60 percent from the previous year.

Discount chains and convenience stores also benefited from an inflow of Chinese shoppers.

Lotte Mart’s Seoul Station branch, which is a popular destination for foreign tourists due to its central location, saw sales grow 7.8 percent on Nov. 7-8, with sales of cooked food and health products leading the gain.

Convenience store chain CU saw sales at its branches in Myeongdong, a key shopping district, grow 8.4 percent, according to the data.