SEOUL, June 29 (Yonhap) — Lotte Duty Free, South Korea’s top duty-free operator, will open a store in the country’s tallest building this week, the firm said Thursday, as it moves to cope with falling tourists amid Seoul’s diplomatic row with Beijing.
The new mall at the 123-story Lotte World Tower will open Friday and become the country’s largest duty-free shop in the capital city when it is linked to the department store that is part of the larger tower complex, the company said.
The number of brands available at the store will increase from some 320 to 420, which will allow it to better meet various demands of Japanese and Chinese tourists, the company said.
The opening comes as local duty-free operators are all struggling from the drop in the number of tourists from China, which accounted for 46.7 percent of all tourists coming to the country last year.
Starting in mid-March, the Chinese government has banned the country’s travel agencies from selling Korea-bound package tours in an apparent retaliation over the deployment of a U.S. missile defense system here.
“We hope the opening of the World Tower Store to be a breakthrough as the circumstances around the duty-free industry have been deteriorating with the missile defense issue showing no signs of being resolved in the near future,” said Jang Sun-wook, chief of Lotte Duty Free.