Shinsegae Duty Free opens world of art

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Shinsegae Duty Free opens world of art

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Visitors browse Shinsegae Duty Free shop in central Seoul in front of an enormous swing ride artwork on Wednesday. [SHINSEGAE DUTY FREE]

Shinsegae’s new duty-free shop opened on Wednesday with arts and entertainment in mind.

“Other duty-free shops are only focused on elements related to shopping itself,” said Sung Young-mok, CEO and president of Shinsegae DF, the unit in charge of operating the duty-free business.

“But we took a different approach to provide a better shopping experience by adding artistic and entertainment aspects to the corners of Shinsegae Duty Free.”

Entering the 10th floor of Shinsegae’s new duty-free shop, a gigantic carousel swing ride made of mirrors and light bulbs takes center stage, giving a fantasy atmosphere.

Surrounding the “Mirror Carousel” is a huge display giving panoramic views of Seoul attractions.

The area is part of Shinsegae’s efforts to create a museum-like atmosphere in the store and provide a distinct experience for high-end shoppers beyond good merchandise.

Shinsegae, the second-largest retailer in the country, is seeking to challenge Lotte’s unrivaled dominance in the duty-free business with its new duty-free shop in Sogong-dong, central Seoul.

Shinsegae Duty Free takes up floors eight through 12 of Shinsegae Department Store’s main branch in central Seoul, only 633 meters (0.4 miles) from Lotte Department Store’s Sogong branch.

The store will house some 600 brands, including luxury jewelry and watch labels Cartier, Van Cleef & Arpels, Audemars Piguet and Vacheron Constantin, as well as high-end designer brands Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Saint Laurent.

But the company’s focus is on cosmetics brands, as it has the largest number of beauty brands among all the local duty-free shops.

Cosmetics have become the most sought-after product category for tourists, especially from China, thanks to the growing brand recognition backed by the popularity of Korean dramas and movies.

“Of the total 600 brands, cosmetics brands make up over 200,” said Son Yung-sik, executive vice president of Shinsegae DF. “We tried to host as many domestic brands as possible to help them be exposed to consumers outside of Korea. There are 60 local cosmetics brands.”

The lineup includes traditionally popular brands such as Innisfree and Nature Republic, and emerging ones including 3CE and VDL.

Continuing the cultural and entertainment theme, various artworks are placed at a rest spot on the eighth floor.

Shinsegae plans to open a champagne tasting room on the eighth floor in the second half of this year to invite customers to sample different liquors.

A VIP lounge center has also been established to cater to exclusive customers on a one-on-one basis.

For energetic younger customers, the 11th floor hosts different character shops, including a Kakao Friends Shop and LINE Friends Store. The floor also features an open-air resting area called Sky Park, and the theme will change depending on the season.

The store operates a gift shop on the 12th floor, where pieces by professional craftsmen will be on sale.


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

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