Duty-free sales hit new high as downtown shops open

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Duty-free sales hit new high as downtown shops open

Sales at Korean duty-free stores hit a new half-year high, industry data showed Wednesday, on the back of the opening of new downtown shops and on-arrival duty-free shops here.

The combined sales of local duty-free shops reached 11.66 trillion won ($9.8 billion) during the January-June period, compared with a previous record of 9.76 trillion won during the second half of last year, according to the data from the Korea Duty Free Shops Association.

Three additional downtown duty-free outlets have opened since last July. The country’s first on-arrival duty-free shops opened at Incheon International Airport, the country’s main gateway, in May.

Local duty-free operators have also opened new fashion brands at their outlets, in an apparent move to diversify the source of income and to reduce dependence on Chinese customers who mostly pursue cosmetics products.

Sales at the local duty-free shops witnessed a slight fall in 2017 following a diplomatic row with China over the deployment of an advanced U.S. missile defense system here. Sales, however, swung to an upturn in 2018 to reach an all-time high of 19.23 trillion won.

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