SOUTH KOREA. Lotte Duty Free this afternoon local time announced a temporary shutdown of its flagship Seoul Myeong-dong store after receiving notification that the country’s 23rd confirmed novel coronavirus-infected patient (a female Chinese traveller from Wuhan) had visited the Lotte Department Store on the same site, writes Min Yong Jung.

Following the Korea Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s notification at 2pm Seoul time, Lotte Duty Free decided to temporarily close the store to ensure the safety of customers and employees. The Lotte Duty Free Department Store will also close.

The store is South Korea’s biggest-selling duty free location, underpinned by its acclaimed beauty offer

The store will resume operations on Monday 10 February after conducting a thorough disinfection. A Lotte Duty Free representative said, “As soon as we confirmed that a confirmed coronavirus case had visited Lotte Department Store’s headquarters, we quickly closed our operations today and decided to take temporary shutdown measures.”

He added: “Lotte Duty Free will do its best to ensure the safety of its customers and employees by conducting additional quarantine work.”

The store is South Korea’s highest-grossing downtown duty free door, having generated KRW4,202.3 billion (US$3.82 billion) in sales for 2018, a figure sure to have soared in 2019. The total Korean duty free downtown market grew by +29% last year.

The Myeong-dong store is hugely popular with daigou resellers, shown here last year queuing up outside the store before opening (Phote: Martin Moodie)

Going strong on Globuy

As a lead business partner of The Moodie Davitt Report, Lotte Duty Free’s story will also appear in Chinese and with a consumer voice on fast-growing Chinese B2C WeChat social media account Globuy [玩转全球免税], as part of a new collaboration between Globuy owner Extra-Aile Media in Shanghai and The Moodie Davitt Report.

Globuy aims to become “the KOL of Chinese travel retail” and already has 400,000 followers and a monthly audience of 1 million views for its WeChat social media platform promoting new launches, product availability, promotions and special offers. Underlining the strong affinity and complementary nature of the two companies work, Globuy has dubbed The Moodie Davitt Report “the KOL of travel retail B2B media”

Under the agreement, selected stories from The Moodie Davitt’s lead brand partners in beauty, fashion, luxury, confectionery and premium spirits are also published by Globuy in Chinese. These include product reviews by the Globuy team.

Globuy is promoting The Moodie Davitt Report’s platform to China’s travel retail sector and to its own consumer audience in China. The Moodie Davitt Report subsequently also publishes a curated selection of Chinese consumer feedback on the chosen stories and will reveal the results of regular consumer surveys conducted in association with Globuy.