Department stores slash prices for seasonal sales

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Department stores slash prices for seasonal sales

After suffering from slumping profits, the nation’s major department stores will carry out a series of eye-popping promotions during the upcoming sales period that starts April 3.

Traditionally, fewer brands tend to join the 17-day spring discount period at these retail outlets.

But since revenues in the industry fell last year and as the sales growth in the first quarter is predicted to be less than 1 percent, most department stores are desperately trying not to repeat the poor performances they recorded during January’s sales.

Lotte Department Store, for instance, will provide about 1 billion won ($906,000) worth of cash giveaways for the spring discount season - the same amount as it offered in last year’s summer sales, the largest amount it has ever given away during a promotional period.

In general, opportunities to enter giveaways are provided for customers who actually purchase goods, but any visitors to Lotte’s brick-and-mortar stores can enter the company’s competition though tablet PCs set up inside.

There are 35 Lotte stores across the country. Any person can use their personal details to enter an event up to 17 times a day at each store. Shoppers receive 1,000 won worth of credit to use at the store each time they enter an event.

“It is a method to attract consumers who don’t visit offline stores,” said a Lotte spokesman.

The company also said it will hold a wine exhibition in which it will display 114 kinds of grand cru, which is the Burgundy region in France’s highest classification for wine, and will also provide a series of markdowns on apparel worth 8 billion won.

It added that there will be up to 80 percent off on some brands this spring.

The weather has been colder than usual for the time of year, which has also influenced companies to carry out promotions as too many spring fashion items have been left in stock.

“We planned to boost consumer sentiment by offering many big discount promotions on spring season goods,” said Kwon Tae-jin, a Hyundai Department Store spokesman.

The company said it will hold a premium golf promotion, offering discounts of up to 70 percent on golf goods, and will also give a 50 percent discount on luxury fashion brand Etro. In the Mok-dong branch in western Seoul, the company will offer 20 to 30 percent discounts on 22 interior brands as the spring moving and wedding season is coming up.

Shinsegae Department Store usually holds its spring sale for 17 days, but it has decided to cap its promotional period at 10 days this time. The company said, however, that it will carry out activities to attract consumers. At its main store in Jung District, central Seoul, it will also give discounts on kitchen utensils and items for the bathroom.

“Since not so many brands will join the spring discount period, we will provide many big events that can attract consumers to offline stores during the discount period,” said a spokesman for Shinsegae.

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