SOUTH KOREA. Lotte Duty Free today opened the first phase of its new downtown store in Bangkok, marking the Korean travel retailer’s debut in Thailand. A Grand Opening is set for later this year.

The store is located within the spectacular new Show DC complex, described as Thailand’s first entertainment & retail “mega complex”.

The Thai Zone, opened today, features a diverse range of local merchandise. By the time of the full opening Lotte Duty Free will operate 9,354sq m of space across two floors.

The store includes a ‘Star Avenue’ zone, a hallyu (Korean wave) experiential space, based on the hugely successful concept at Lotte’s two main Seoul stores. Shoppers can have their photos taken alongside images of Korean celebrities, buy star merchandise and wear hallyu costumes. The zone also features giant screens that promote Korean tourist attractions.

When fully open the store will feature a broad range of categories, including toys, cosmetics, fashion, electronics, liquor and tobacco.

The Bangkok store is Lotte Duty Free’s second overseas shop to open in recent weeks. As revealed by The Moodie Davitt Report, Lotte Duty Free recently unveiled the first phase of a planned 1,000sq m store at Da Nang International Airport in Vietnam. The Grand Opening will take place in August.

Lotte said it is working hard to strengthen its global competitiveness in the face of difficulties in Korea linked to the THAAD anti-missile system dispute with China. That dispute has devastated the crucial Chinese tourism market, which last year represented almost 50% of total arrivals and generated around 65% of duty free spending. Chinese arrivals for the first four months of 2017 fell by -25.8% year-on-year with April down by -66.6%. Lotte now operates offshore stores in Thailand, Jakarta, Tokyo, Vietnam, Indonesia and Guam.

Lotte Duty Free CEO Jang Sun-wook said, “As Bangkok is a major tourist destination for tourists from all over the world, this store is a good stepping stone in fulfilling our ambition to become the world’s number one duty free company. We will continue to offer a differentiated service to shoppers and do our utmost to expand and diversify our global business.”

About Show DC

The US$300 million Show DC is owned by AEC Capital Co, a private equity property investment fund co-owned by Thai and Malaysian investors.

The main Thai shareholder is Chayaditt Hutanuwatra, Chairman of AEC Capital Co and Show DC Corp.

Show DC promises “to sweep the tourism industry off its feet and revolutionise Bangkok’s tourism landscape” through an original entertainment concept targeted at international visitors and locals.

“The destination centre showcases the best of Thailand and Asia in a contemporary, high-energy environment brought to life by partners from ASEAN and East Asia’s commercial giants, each a leader in their respective industry,” the company claimed.

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