This summer's hottest destination may be the mall

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This summer's hottest destination may be the mall

A dinosaur-themed park at Lotte Premium Outlet in Paju, Gyeonggi. Retailers are rolling out experiential events as vacationers are struggling to find a vacation spot due to travel restrictions. [LOTTE SHOPPING]

A dinosaur-themed park at Lotte Premium Outlet in Paju, Gyeonggi. Retailers are rolling out experiential events as vacationers are struggling to find a vacation spot due to travel restrictions. [LOTTE SHOPPING]

  
Retailers are offering novel events at their branches to attract summer vacationers with nowhere else to go due to concerns over the coronavirus. 
 
Lotte Shopping is offering an indoor surfing spot while Hyundai Department Store is providing green “resorts” at its branches, where people can relax surrounded by plants.
 
Lotte Premium Outlet is offering surfing lessons in a 140-pyeong (4,982-square-foot) indoor surfing shop at its branch in Giheung District in Yongin, Gyeonggi. 
 
The surfing pool is 12 meters (39 feet) long and 5 meters wide, with waves of 27 kilometers (17 miles) per hour. A voucher for a month's use of the facility costs 500,000 won ($418) until Aug. 31.
 
The Lotte Premium Outlet in Paju, Gyeonggi, has set up a Jurassic-themed park, where 4.5-meter dinosaurs are installed. Lotte Shopping is holding parades every weekend, where visitors get to participate in dancing with smaller dinosaur figures.
 
For pet lovers, Lotte Mall in Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi, is offering a pool where people can enjoy swimming with their pets. Customers of the Miminko pet shop can use the facility for free.  
 
Lotte Shopping said it's targeting vacationers who travel from Seoul to the suburban malls.
 
“Outlets are destinations for families,” said Lotte Shopping in a statement. “Starting late July, the number of visitors at suburban outlets usually jumps by more than 20 percent.”
 
Lotte Shopping “has decided to roll out more diverse events as more people are expected to visit outlets as increased number of people are traveling to suburban areas like Gangwon or the outskirts of Seoul instead of overseas.”
 
Sales at Lotte suburban outlets over the weekend from July 24 through July 26 grew 14 percent on year. During the same period, Lotte Department Stores saw 7 percent growth.  
 
During the same period, Hyundai Department Store saw its on-year sales rise by 7.3 percent.
 
Hyundai Department Store’s summer events include green vacation spots at its branches in Pangyo, Gyeonggi, and Mokdong, western Seoul, until early next month.
 
The retailer set up different themed cafes on the 10th floor of the Pangyo branch. The space has been decorated with green plants and wooden furniture of the sort seen at beach resorts.
 
“The event has been rolled out as demand for travel is expected to be concentrated domestically instead of overseas due to the impact of Covid-19,” said Kang Jun-mo, a spokesperson for Hyundai Department Store.  
 
It is also offering a beer festival after 5 p.m. offering two beers for the price of one.
 
At its branch in Mok-dong, western Seoul, Hyundai Department Store has set up another relaxation spot for visitors. Surrounded by various plants, the space offers photo zones.
 
“The era of opening new branches and attracting customers through offline stores has ended, drastically shrinking their function to experiential space,” Daishin Research Center said in a report last month.
 
BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]

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