KDFSOUTH KOREA. Sunday 26 June marked the end of a retail era in Seoul as Lotte Duty Free World Tower store closed for business.

According to KDF News (with whom The Moodie Davitt Report is pleased to have begun an informal alliance to share information on the Korean and international duty free markets), suppliers and employees are blaming the Korean government for the closure, which they said would negatively impact the country’s economy.

As reported, Lotte Duty Free lost the licence for the Seoul store last November after a bitter and controversial open bidding contest for key downtown duty free permits. It is hopeful, however, that it will gain one of several new licences due to be issued in coming months.


Taken on 23 June, this image shows how much stocks had been run down at the store [Photograph: Baek Jin, KDF News]

Lotte Duty Free World Tower store recorded sales of KRW611 billion (US$519.7 million) last year, an annual increase of +26.8%, KDF News reported. Free independent travellers (FITs) were responsible for 45% of sales.

KDF News said that the retailer would have generated sales of KRW700-800 billion (US$595-680 million) this year, had the store stayed open. Instead Lotte will lose upwards of KRW60 billion (US$51 million) per month.


Dying star: The Star Avenue entrance to the World Tower store [Photograph: Baek Jin]