Starfield Hanam sees 10 million in 140 days

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Starfield Hanam sees 10 million in 140 days

Starfield Hanam, a Shinsegae Group shopping mall, has welcomed 10 million visitors in the 140 days since its grand opening in September.

As of Sunday, the mall in Hanam, Gyeonggi, welcomed 11.5 million visitors - an average of 71,000 shoppers daily. Shinsegae installed sensors at major entrances to count its visitors.

The retail giant said the 10-million mark was passed three weeks earlier than expectations.

Starfield Hanam is the brainchild of Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin, who promised a new paradigm for Korea’s retail industry.

The group made a 1 trillion won ($877 million) investment in the mall and joined forces with U.S. property developer Taubman.

Shinsegae Group said the better-than-expected performance was a result of Starfield’s exclusive “shopping theme park” concept, and its offering of diverse experiences such as a movie multiplex, indoor gym, swimming pool and spa.

“Starfield Hanam went beyond merchandising products, but strived to interact with customers by providing places where people can share time and experiences,” said Lim Young-lock, president of Shinsegae Property, which oversees the mall’s operation. “I think this differentiation struck a chord with many visitors.”

One popular draw, according to Shinsegae Group, was Aquafield, a water park. It has drawn 200,000 visitors so far.

But industry analysts are expressing doubts about whether the large number of visitors is bringing in as much revenue as expected.

“The fact that the mall is focused on providing ‘experience’ could result in a large number of visitors just passing by and not make actual purchases,” said one industry insider. “The fact that it is located on the outskirts of Seoul could have contributed to that tendency: people don’t go there to buy something but just drop by when they feel like getting out of the city.”

In fact, the number of visitors to Starfield Hanam has been dwindling. The opening month of September saw 2.3 million visitors, followed by 2.15 million in October and 1.9 million in November.

The number edged up a little in December to 2.1 million visitors. In January as of the 26th, Starfield Hanam welcomed 1.55 million visitors.

Shinsegae said its sales goal for this year is 820 billion won.

The mall, which was established as a 51:49 joint venture between Shinsegae Property and Taubman, is not obliged publicly disclose financial information such as sales or profits.


BY JIN EUN-SOO [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]

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