Shinsegae bets big on rooftop entertainment

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Shinsegae bets big on rooftop entertainment


Shinsegae Department Store’s new Daegu location will have an aquarium, left, and park, right, on its roof. [SHINSEGAE DEPARTMENT STORE]

Shinsegae Department Store’s newest location in Daegu is set to open next month, and it will include a massive 56,000-square-foot aquarium and indoor park on its roof, the company revealed Wednesday.

The move is a bid to attract more visitors with family-friendly entertainment options. Incorporating more amusement facilities into its department stores and shopping malls has been Shinsegae’s main strategy in breaking through a prolonged slump in the retail business.

The aquarium, which will feature some 200 types of animals including rare ones like manatees, sea lions and elephant seals, will occupy the ninth floor of the store. An indoor park with oversize furniture a la Alice in Wonderland and an outdoor plaza with plants and fountains will be adjacent to the aquarium.

“The Daegu branch will be different from the concept of existing department store and focus on providing value and experience to visitors,” Shinsegae Department Store CEO Jang Jae-young said. “We will become a landmark in the North Gyeongsang region and attract people who were originally planning to go to an amusement park, zoos or baseball games during the weekend with our diverse cultural facilities.”

This is the first time a Korean department store is installing an aquarium on the top floor. The heavy weight of water tanks requires most aquariums to be located at ground or on lower levels. Shinsegae, though, has defied convention by placing all its entertainment facilities on the roof.

“The construction cost is double compared to when building [an aquarium] on ground level, but we boldly invested to provide more pleasure to visitors,” Shinsegae said in a statement.

A 600-seat concert hall and art gallery that will host exhibitions and auctions are also in the space.

The Daegu location is the last of Shinsegae’s six-projects initiative announced early this year, which also includes the recently-opened Starfield Hanam in Gyeonggi, the largest retail complex in Korea.

CEO Jang said the series of projects marks Shinsegae’s “quantum jump” that it has been preparing for over three years, and once complete, its retail businesses will be “free of market share competition.”

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