Lotte World Mall reinforces safety management

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Lotte World Mall reinforces safety management

Lotte Group said Tuesday it will operate a 24-hour emergency system at Lotte World Mall to respond to any potential safety problems starting today in what some see as a desperate attempt to reassure the public and attract customers.

The mall’s safety management committee says it has worked on drills with local fire stations for months, but has expanded the drills to 6,000 people, including workers from Lotte Corporation and Lotte Engineering & Construction, as well as mall businesses.

The committee added that it will run a safety training program that simulates an actual accident. The purpose of the training is to carefully monitor the performance of the mall’s four safety-related divisions. The mall runs a safety situation room, which operates like a control tower to coordinate accident response, and has teams responsible for safety inspections, safety management and public relations, which will communicate with media outlets.

Industry insiders say Lotte is having trouble drawing customers to the new luxury mall. According to the company, about 1.94 million people, nearly 100,000 per day, visited in October after the mall opened but the number of visitors has declined ever since.

In January, mall traffic was down to 53,000 people per day. A total of 2.96 million people, or about 90,000 per day, visited the mall in November and 2.16 million, or about 70,000 per day in December.

Lotte said a 7-centimeter (2.7-inch) crack in the wall of the mall’s aquarium and safety concerns at Lotte Cinema, which has 21 screens and 4,671 seats, also have hurt attendance.

The Seoul Metropolitan Government shut down the aquarium and theaters in January until the problems are resolved.

The city government said the facilities will not reopen until it receives and thoroughly reviews Lotte’s inspection report.

“The entire staff of the mall will try their best to protect customers and to create the best environment for shopping and entertainment by developing a decent safety management system that will operate 24 hours a day,” said a spokesman for Lotte World Mall’s safety management committee.

BY KWON SANG-SOO [sakwon80@joongang.co.kr]

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