Lotte Group to increase 2013 investment, hiring

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Lotte Group to increase 2013 investment, hiring

Lotte Group, the nation’s biggest retail conglomerate, has made an aggressive decision to invest 10 percent more this year than last and hire 2,000 more employees that it did in 2012.

Although the announcement came a month later than it did last year, it is still unusual for a big corporation to come up with such a bold investment plan this year since many others, including Lotte’s biggest domestic rival Shinsegae, remain silent amid volatile economic conditions and the start of a new government administration.

Lotte, best known for Lotte Department Store, said it would invest 6.84 trillion won ($6.16 billion) this year, including 5.82 trillion won in domestic investment, and hire 15,500 new workers. The retailer said the decision aims at long-term growth.

Chairman Shin Dong-bin late last year told heads of respective affiliates, “Even if we are in the middle of an emergency management situation, saving on future expenses is a shortcut to aggravating the company’s basic structure.”

By sector, the biggest investment will be assigned to retail at 3.6 trillion won, followed by construction at 1 trillion won, petrochemicals at 800 billion won, hotel and service at 780 billion won and food at 660 billion won.

When it comes to the retail business, Lotte intends to focus on expansion overseas and strengthening its growth drivers. Two branches of Lotte Department Store are set to open in China - in Weihai and Cheongdu - and one in Jakarta, the first in Indonesia.

In Korea, three Lotte Marts are scheduled to open this year ? in Seoul, Buyeo in South Chungcheong and Icheon in Gyeonggi. Lotte Mart also is scheduled to open about 20 stores in China, Vietnam and Indonesia by the end of this year.

The retail giant said it plans to push ahead with skyscraper construction projects currently under way, including a 123-story World Tower in Jamsil, southeastern Seoul, scheduled for completion in 2015. The project is expected to cost about 3.5 trillion won.

In Hanoi, Vietnam, the company is building Lotte Center Hanoi, a 65-story complex.

By Seo Ji-eun []
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