Chinese customers walk past a Louis Vuitton store located inside a duty-free store in Seoul. (The Korea Herald/Kang Jae-eun)
After ceasing to operate its store in Lotte Duty Free Jeju in December, Louis Vuitton will close three more – at Shilla Duty Free in Jeju, Lotte Duty Free in Busan and Lotte World Tower in Jamsil, Seoul – in March, according to UK media. travel retailer Moodie Davitt Report.
Louis Vuitton also plans to withdraw from the three remaining downtown duty-free stores – Lotte Duty Free, Shilla Duty Free and Shinsegae Duty Free in Seoul – between October this year and March next year, the outlet said.
The decision to close comes as the French brand seeks to focus on airport duty-free shops, particularly those at domestic flight airports in China.
The Louis Vuitton store in Incheon Airport’s Terminal 1 is unaffected by the phasing out of downtown operations in Korea, the outlet said, adding that the company plans to open a second store at the terminal. 2 from the airport by 2023.
In mainland China, Louis Vuitton plans to open five airport stores by the end of this year, including its existing stores in Beijing Capital International and Shanghai Hongqiao.
The Korea Herald reported the brand’s planned withdrawal from downtown duty-free shops in Korea last month, suggesting that local duty-free shops may no longer be an attractive sales channel for luxury brands due to of their strong dependence on Chinese retailers. Luxury brands have raised concerns about Chinese retailers as they buy products in bulk and resell them at home through e-commerce platforms like TaoBao, adding to confusion in distribution channels and pricing policy.
By Kim So-hyun ([email protected])