SOUTH KOREA. “A Golden Journey has begun.” That was the pledge of Korean retailer Hanwha Galleria as it celebrated the formal opening of Seoul’s newest duty free store on Friday.
Galleria Duty Free 63 takes its name from its location inside the 63 Building, one of Seoul’s best-known landmarks, which attracts some 3.32 million visitors annually. The building is famed for its shimmering golden hues (it is the world’s tallest gold-clad structure) and expansive views of Seoul and the majestic Han River which runs through the capital.
Galleria Duty Free 63 is sited close to the tourist attractions of Yeouido, a large island on the Han, which features Seoul’s main business and investment banking district.
The retailer simultaneously launched its online duty free mall and a mobile app.
The store had its soft opening last December. Sales have increased fivefold since early trading, the retailer said, and “significant growth” is expected as the year progresses.
Galleria Duty Free 63 encompasses four stories and 10,153sq m of retail space, including luxury boutiques from Ermenegildo Zegna, Philipp Plein, Michael Kors, Aigner, Coach and Longchamp with more to follow. The offer includes some 540 brands. Chanel cosmetics will open in August, followed by Bottega Veneta, Saint Laurent and Balenciaga in September.
The ground floor features luxury boutiques and cosmetics brands, while floor one offers global luxury watches and jewellery. The second and third floors feature fashion, tobacco, liquor and general merchandise, plus a strong line-up of Korean cosmetics.
Homage is paid to Korean designers on G. Street 1O1 on the second floor. Another stand-out feature is the K-Special Hall located on the third floor, where visitors can discover 141 brands from Korea’s leading small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and “high-potential enterprises”. The third floor also includes a character store for children and a hands-on IT product zone for “kidults”.
Hanwha Group has rebuilt its aquarium, embracing the concept of ‘Real Nature’, which has been renamed Aqua Planet 63. Visitors can enjoy underwater performances and view exotic aquatic wildlife. 63 Art provides a spectacular view of the Han as well as numerous artworks while a premium buffet restaurant offers high-end Chinese, Japanese and French cuisine.
Galleria Duty Free 63 also offers integrated tours covering Yeouido’s various attractions by theme, including shopping, tourist sites, and Hallyu [Korean Wave] content. A ‘one-stop’ tour might begin with shopping at Galleria Duty Free 63, for example, after which visitors can cycle along the riverside park path, stopping to enjoy a variety of water sports along the way.
Later this year a K-culture Zone will be opened on the 4th floor of the 63 Annex Building. This will showcase what is described as an “exclusive visual experience of K-drama” in collaboration with KBS [Korean Broadcasting System].
In a big boost for the store’s prospects, Hanwha Galleria has signed a marketing partnership agreement with China’s largest retailer, Wanda Group. The agreement will feature a joint promotional campaign focused on Chinese holidays, targeting Wanda’s membership base of over 120 million. To further expand its presence in China, Hanwha Galleria this month established an office in Shanghai, which will be bolstered by further locations in Beijing and Shenyang from August.
Synergies with department store shopping
Galleria Duty Free 63 is working closely with the Galleria Department Store. The One Card Service, for example, offers membership discounts at the duty free store, department store and shopping mall with a single card.
The duty free store includes a Diamond Lounge on the third floor for VIP guests. A one-on-one concierge service features a personal shopping adviser, while other premium benefits include Yeouido tour reservations, a delivery service to airport pick-up zones, and complimentary snacks and beverages.
Offline promotions include a lucky draw for 63 Building-shaped gold blocks (630g) and a shopping prize worth KRW6,300,000 (US$5,500), plus various events featuring special gifts and coupons depending on the amount spent.