Duty-free stores plan another flash sale

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Duty-free stores plan another flash sale

Lotte Duty Free's advertisement of duty-free inventory clearance sale. [LOTTE SHOPPING]

Lotte Duty Free's advertisement of duty-free inventory clearance sale. [LOTTE SHOPPING]

Lotte Duty Free and The Shilla Duty Free will offload more unsold duty-free inventory this week, the two retailers announced Tuesday.
In April the government gave a special exemption and temporarily allowed duty-free retailers to sell items in inventory for six months or longer into the general market. The exemption was intended to help struggling duty-free stores achieve sales as well as clear leftover inventory, which would be returned or discarded if not sold.  
Normally, people buying from duty-free shops have to prove that they are leaving the country and taking the goods with them. The products cannot be sold online to Korean customers. 
Market leader Lotte Duty Free will start another sale on its online shopping mall Lotte On from Wednesday. A total of 800 items from 29 brands, ranging from shoes and bags to watches and beauty gadgets will be available at discounts of up to 70 percent.  
Lotte Duty Free previously offloaded stock online on June 26, with 70 percent of the items selling out in the first hour, according to the retailer. Through its eight offline channels, more than 5.3 billion won ($4.4 million) of sales were made in the first three days.  
The Shilla Duty Free, the second largest duty-free retailer by market size, will start another round of sales from Thursday at its online shopping mall, Shilla Trip. Some of the brands included are Bally, Valentino and Balenciaga. The discount rate is set at 30 to 40 percent. The Shilla said the third round of sales is expected to open on July 9.
Previously, on June 25, The Shilla started sales of 560 items from 20 brands on its online shopping mall. More than 500,000 people logged on to the website at one point simultaneously, and more than half of the items were sold out in the first three hours.  
More rounds of sales are expected in the future, as different items take different times to go through customs.
“Each item needs to go through customs one after another, so we cannot offload all of them at once. Currently, we are not planning for the fourth round of sales, but plans may change depending on the situation,” said a spokesperson from The Shilla Duty Free.
“The reason why we do these sales is mostly to help out our partnering companies and staff. As people come to see these items, they stop by at other stores and buy goods. Increased regulation and a drop in sales have made the situation very difficult. We are doing our best to hold up,” said an industry source.

BY KANG JAE-EUN   [kang.jaeeun@joongang.co.kr]

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