Duty-free shops reach revenue, visitor records
Local duty-free shops grossed $905 million in July, the highest monthly sales since the association started compiling data in January 2009, the Korea Duty Free Association said Tuesday.
It was a 4.1 percent increase from the previous month, when retailers made $869 million and a 51.5 percent surge over the same month last year.
The increase was especially high compared to last year when the nation’s economy was hit hard by Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS). The contagious respiratory disease deterred foreign travelers from coming to Korea.
Koreans accounted for 29.6 percent of gross monthly sales with $267.8 million in purchases.
The number of visitors also hit an all-time high with 43.3 million shoppers, of which 55.7 percent of them were Koreans. The total number of visitors rose 4.2 percent compared to the previous month and 56.1 percent compared to the same month last year.
Data also showed that foreigners mostly used duty-free shops in metropolitan areas. Of the 1.6 million visitors who used city duty-free shops, 59.8 percent of them were foreign tourists. Of the 2.1 million visitors who made purchases at duty-free shops housed in the immigration area at airports, only 41.7 percent of them were foreigners.
BY JIN EUN-SOO [firstname.lastname@example.org]