SOUTH KOREA. Lotte Duty Free today reported sales of KRW4.156 trillion (US$3.7 billion) for the first nine months of 2018, a leap of +25% on the THAAD-affected same period in 2017. Operating profit leapt by +550% to KRW228.1 billion (US$200.7 million), having been hard hit last year.

Within Korea, the downtown and airport business delivered KRW3.85 trillion (US$3.4 billion) in sales, with the downtown channel climbing by +42% year-on-year. The company’s online business surged by +50%. Lotte Duty Free hailed the success of a major marketing campaign launched in June, which it said has helped “strengthen its competitiveness” in the Korean market.

Lotte Duty Free hailed the recovery of its Korean business after the THAAD-affected performance in 2017.

The overseas duty free business posted a +65% surge in sales to KRW164.4 billion (US144.7 million), with Japan and Vietnam performing well amid strong Chinese arrivals to each market, said the retailer.

Lotte Duty Free said its figure from overseas sales would climb to KRW200 billion by year-end, aided by Japan and Vietnam, along with Indonesia, Guam and Thailand. As reported, Lotte Duty Free’s overseas business will be bolstered by its planned acquisition of James Richardson Pty Ltd’s Australian and New Zealand duty free business, trading as JR/Duty Free.

The company also cited an increase in operating margin from 1% a year ago to 5.7% in the latest nine-month period as evidence of its recovery in its home market.

Lotte Duty Free is the world’s second biggest travel retailer by sales value according to The Moodie Davitt Report’s annual rankings (measured by 2017 turnover).