Lotte takes its duty-free business down under

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Lotte takes its duty-free business down under


Lotte Duty Free CEO Lee Kap, center, looks around the new store in Brisbane Airport in Australia at the opening ceremony held Monday. [LOTTE DUTY FREE]

Lotte Duty Free held an opening ceremony in Brisbane Monday to celebrate the launch of its business in Australia.

The first Korean duty-free operator to enter the Australian market, Lotte’s goal is to generate more than 200 billion won ($179 million) in sales from Australia this year, backed by an increasing number of Chinese tourists to the country.

Lotte in August acquired five stores from Australia-based JR Duty Free, opening them in January. Four are in Australia - in Brisbane Airport, Melbourne, Darwin Airport and Canberra Airport - and one in New Zealand’s Wellington Airport. Lotte now runs 12 duty-free stores in seven foreign countries, including Indonesia, the United States and Vietnam.

“We have established a foothold to become the global No. 1 [duty-free operator] through our entrance in the Australian market,” said Lotte Duty Free CEO Lee Kap at the opening ceremony. “Based on Lotte Duty Free’s operating abilities, we will strive to become the largest duty-free operator in Australia by 2023.”

Song Yong-deok, vice president of Lotte Group’s Hotel & Service business unit, Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan de Graaff as well as popular K-pop stars like Suho and Kai from boy band Exo attended the event.

Australia has risen as a popular country among duty-free operators, partly due to the rising number of Chinese tourists.

Australia was picked as the most popular long-distance travel destination by Chinese tourists alongside the United States this spring, according to a report from China’s largest tour agency Ctrip. The report showed Australia has annually seen an average 10 percent growth of Chinese tourists over the five years from 2013 to 2017.

Lotte’s Brisbane Airport store sells 600 brands, which range from cosmetics to alcoholic beverages and accessories in a 2,795-square-meter (30,085-square-foot) space - the biggest out of the five stores in the region. One of the popular services offered at the branch is its whiskey bar.

The duty-free shop at Darwin Airport sells 420 brands in a 692-square-meter space while the one in Canberra Airport is a lot smaller with just a 106-square-meter space offering alcohol from 240 brands.

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