, South Korea
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South Korean department stores enjoy sales rebound

Many reported growth in sales from foreign customers.

South Korean department stores have been enjoying a rebound in sales as international shoppers return to the country amid eased virus restrictions, Yonhap reported.

Hanwha Galleria, the department store of Hanwha Group, has said its luxury goods section saw sales from global customers surge more than sixfold YoY from August 2022 to January, with the share of sales from foreigners jumping from less than 1% to 5% over the same period.

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, foreigners accounted for over 15% of sales at Galleria's luxury goods section, the retailer said.

Lotte Department Store's main branch in the tourist district of Myeongdong, central Seoul, also saw sales from foreigners grow 590% YoY over the same six-month period.

READ MORE: South Korea’s retail sales up 9.2% YoY in 2022

"Before the pandemic, most international visitors were group tourists from China. But we are recently seeing more foreign customers of different nationalities, such as the United States, Europe and Southeast Asia," Lim Ji-eun, a spokesperson for the department store, said.

At Hyundai Department Store's Yeouido branch, sales from foreigners jumped 1,142.8% YoY, it said. Consumer transactions, or the amount spent per customer, also grew by 26.3%.

The retailer said it plans to open various pop-up stores related to K-pop and the broader Korean culture whilst partnering with outside vendors to develop tour programs aimed at inbound travellers to South Korea.

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