Sales at South Korean duty-free stores hit a new monthly high in February on increased purchases by Chinese tourists during the Lunar New Year holiday, industry data showed on March 18.
The combined sales of local duty-free shops reached a new monthly record of 1.74 trillion won ($1.53 billion) last month, compared with 1.71 trillion won in January, according to the data from the Korea Duty Free Shops Association.
February marked the second consecutive month for domestic duty-free sales to set a new monthly record.
Despite February having fewer business days than other months, sales gathered ground on the back of the Lunar New Year holiday and Valentine’s Day, industry sources said.
Lunar New Year’s Day fell on Feb. 5 this year. More Chinese tourists tend to visit Korea during the holiday, resulting in increased sales at local duty-free shops.
February’s increase also came despite concerns that China’s implementation, in January, of a new e-commerce law would make a dent in sales of Korean duty-free stores.
Under the law, Beijing levies taxes on small-scale Chinese vendors who sell their duty-free purchases, such as cosmetic products, to consumers back home.
By Ram Garikipati and newswires (firstname.lastname@example.org)