Retailers hope to keep up post-CSAT energy

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Retailers hope to keep up post-CSAT energy

Five minutes before the official opening time Friday morning, more than 50 customers were waiting in front of the main entrance of the Lotte Mall at Gimpo Airport in western Seoul.

It’s unusual to see several dozen customers waiting in line for a department store to open on a regular business day. The mall is one of the largest shopping complexes in the area, with a Lotte Department Store and Lotte Mart.

Some in the line were middle-aged and senior citizens, but a significant portion of them were teenagers and people in their early 20s.

“Young fashion brands like Pancoat and Jack & Jill, which are popular among teenagers and people in their 20s, are offering discounts of up to 20 percent until next Thursday to customers who show the CSAT [College Scholastic Ability Test] verification slip,” said Ahn Woong of the Lotte Department Store public relations team.

Marketing and promotional activities kicked off on Friday at local retailers, with hopes of keeping up the sales momentum by bringing in young people who just finished taking the annual college admissions test Thursday evening, after China’s Singles Day wrapped up on Wednesday.

The Hyundai Outlet Gasan branch launched another discount event called “Hot Price Week,” from Friday through next Thursday, during which selected products are being offered at up to 80 percent off, and the department store is giving out Hyundai gift vouchers to shoppers who spend between 200,000 won ($170) and 1 million won.

Like at Lotte, Hyundai Outlet got some 40 young fashion brands like Tomboy, Zooc and CC Collect to offer discounts of 10 to 50 percent. The outlet is even offering a discount event for parents. If parents bring in old golf clubs, the store will buy them and offer a discount on a new set of clubs.

Mario Outlet, also located in Gasan-dong, southwestern Seoul, is offering discounts of up to 20 percent to CSAT-takers who bring their test verification slip. More than 100 brands, including young fashion and sports brands, are participating in the event.

“Not only fashion and sports brands, but the eateries located inside the mall are offering discounts of up to 10 percent to those test-takers,” said Jang Joon-hyuk, a representative of the mall.

Meanwhile, one of the country’s largest online open markets, 11st, has planned a discount event for CSAT-takers mainly involving gaming. A laptop specifically designed to be optimal for high-function graphics games, which is normally priced at 1.06 million won, is on sale at the special price of 999,000 won. A 28-inch crossover ultra-high-definition monitor normally sold for 362,760 won is now priced at 289,000 won.

“We’ve seen a trend that gaming equipment sales more than double within the first seven days after the CSAT is over, compared to usual days,” said Choi Sang-woon, a personal computer merchandiser on 11st.

The food and beverage industry is also holding sales to attract more CSAT-takers. Gong Cha Korea is offering a 20 percent discount through Sunday to test-takers who bring their test slips. KFC held a buy-one-get-one event on Friday for test-takers for its new menu item, a pizza-topped fried chicken dish called “chizza.”

“Days after the CSAT are considered the hit season for local retailers, as the test-takers actually spend a lot after the pressure is gone,” said a public relations manager at Gong Cha Korea.


BY LEE HYUN-TAEK [kim.jiyoon@joongang.co.kr]

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