[THE INVESTOR] Duty-free stores in Korea performed well in the first half of this year, as a total of 50 outlets recorded sales of 5.77 trillion won (US$5.08 billion), a 26.1 percent increase from the same period last year, according to customs data released on July 18.
This is the first time that duty-free sales in H1 have passed the 5 trillion won mark, and if the upward turn continues into the second half, it might reach 12 trillion won, doubling from that of 2011.
A total of 22 urban duty-free stores including 10 in Seoul, three in Jeju and two in Busan took up 71.1 percent of the total revenue while those at the airports and seaports had 23.9 percent share.
Foreign customers’ average purchase was US$345, well past US$103 of Korean nationals, while the locals accounted for 57.1 percent of the customers in numbers (23.5 million). Imports sales were 58.4 percent of the total revenue.
In the second half of this year, six more urban duty-free stores will be granted government permission to operate, four in Seoul and two in other provinces.
By Hwang You-mee (firstname.lastname@example.org)