Big stores lure kids, lend a hand

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Big stores lure kids, lend a hand

With summer vacation season here again, major department stores are bringing cultural and educational events to their shopping malls to draw in customers with children.

Hyundai Department Store has a range of job shadowing and mentoring events at the chain’s 13 branches.

The store in Mok-dong, western Seoul, will host the entertainment center KidZania to offer mock workplaces for children so that they can experience such professions as a news anchor, nurse, doctor and pilot. The facility is at the store’s culture hall on the seventh floor from today to Aug. 2.

The entrance fee is 1,000 won (85 cents) and only 100 visitors will be admitted daily. After opening its first center in Mexico City, KidZania has expanded to Japan, the United States and U.K.

“This year’s focus on children’s events lies in their number,” said a representative of Hyundai Department Store. “We doubled the number of events aimed at entertaining children this year.”

At the Cheonho branch in eastern Seoul, Hyundai features a kids’ park where children can watch and take a picture with cartoon characters such as Ddobot. The park is in the open-air area on the 13th floor of the store and will be open from today to Aug. 23.

The Apgujeong store directs its target audience to a more highbrow activity - commentary on an opera.

The chain will invite opera experts to give easy-to-understand comments on “The Barber of Seville.”

Admission is also 1,000 won per person to the Aug. 9 presentation.

“We believe that consumer satisfaction will increase if they can give a pleasant experience to their children while they are shopping,” the spokesman said.

Shinsegae’s offering is part of its corporate social responsibility activities. It offers an education program for children of merchants working at the neighborhood’s traditional open-air markets.

Dubbed “Dream Camp,” the two-week program will include courses on English and the liberal arts for 30 selected children. The lecturers are college students majoring in middle and high school education.

In addition to lectures, the program also invites people from multiple professional backgrounds to give participants practical advice about choosing a future job.

Shinsegae explained that the initiative is intended to offer a quality education for sons and daughters of merchants, who often find it hard to support their children’s education.

Shinsegae selected 30 middle school students in June, and the program will take the participants to Shinsegae’s training facility in Yongin, Gyeonggi, from today to Aug. 7.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [park.eunjee@joongang.co.kr]

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