Department stores investing big into refurbishment and makeovers
Department stores are pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into makeovers this year focusing on luxury brands and younger customers, as the number of Covid-19 cases is expected to decline.
Though the pandemic had taken a toll on retail, major department stores had a successful year in 2021 as luxury sales remained strong.
Lotte Department Store opened "Connected Flagship Store," a multi-purpose experience zone on the first floor of its main branch in Myeong-dong, central Seoul, last Friday. With an independent bookstore, an art display area, a vinyl listening zone and a coffee shop, the space is targeting younger customers who are emerging as the next big spenders.
Lotte Department Store has been developing projects offering a variety of services to consumers, with the aim of turning a department store from a mere shopping mall into a multi-purpose complex where shoppers can have fun and memorable experiences.
Ground Seesaw Myeong-dong, a large media art gallery opened last year at the department store's main branch, is one example. Lotte Department Store also opened Get That Shot Cafe, a hot spot for Instagrammers, at its Yeongdeungpo branch, western Seoul, and Edne by Towed, an experiential furniture and lifestyle store, at the Guri branch in Gyeonggi.
Lotte Department Store plans to invest 547.6 billion won ($450.6 million) in revamping some of its major branches, including the Myeong-dong branch, the Jamsil branch and the Gangnam branch.
The Myeong-dong branch has been expanding its luxury lineups since last year. Luxury menswear section was renewed with some 30 brands last August, followed by the womenswear section, which reopened in March. The branch's food, accessories and cosmetics sections will go through a renewal as well, according to the Lotte Department Store.
British architect David Chipperfield is currently consulting with the department store regarding the renovation of the Myeong-dong branch's first to second floors and the first basement level.
Hyundai Department Store is set to spend some 200 billion won by next year as well, to upgrade its six branches: the main branch in Apgujeong, The Hyundai Seoul, the Trade Center branch, the Mok-dong branch, the Pangyo branch and the Daegu branch.
The department store said it plans to adopt some of the elements of The Hyundai Seoul at other branches. Opened last February, The Hyundai Seoul in Yeouido, western Seoul, achieved 800 billion won in sales last year.
At the Hyundai Department Store's main branch in Apgujeong, southern Seoul, the company plans to further strengthen its overseas fashion brand offerings, and the food and living sections are also slated for a redesign next year.
The department store's Trade Center branch in southern Seoul is set to ramp up luxury and overseas fashion brand offering, while at the Mok-dong branch, western Seoul, it plans to open a four-story shopping section targeting the younger consumers as early as this year.
At the Pangyo branch in Gyeonggi, it will expand its high-end menswear lineup, starting with Hermes, which is set to enter the department store in the latter half of the year. Dior will open a boutique at The Hyundai Seoul, and the Daegu branch will open a four-story shopping section targeting young consumers in 2022.
Shinsegae Department Store is planning to spend 476.6 billion won on its newly opening branches and refurbishing. The department store will focus on its Yongin branch in Gyeonggi, and the Gangnam branch, where Shinsegae's duty-free store was situated before going out of business last July.
The department store's Gyeonggi branch, which started operation in 2007, reopened its luxury fashion and cosmetics sections last October after a year-long renovation. The ongoing renovation in the luxury section is set to be completely wrapped up in the first half, and other sections will go through redesigns as well.
Shinsegae Department Store is planning to incorporate the 13,223-square-meter (142,331-square-foot) area where the duty-free store was once located as part of the store's Gangnam branch, which will make it the biggest department store in Seoul, according to Shinsegae.
"We will take a leap forward by innovating the offline space and offering unique content to be the leading company in lifestyle," said a spokesperson for Shinsegae Department Store.
BY YOO JI-YOEN [firstname.lastname@example.org]