THE WHAT? South Korean duty-free operators have been given the go-ahead to sell their products via local retail channels. The news follows the easing of government restrictions in a bid to bolster the sector amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report by Yonhap News Agency.
THE DETAILS Travel retail and duty-free sales have been hit hard as international travel all but ceased in the wake of the coronavirus. As such operators including Shinsegae International are now selling brands such as Bottega Veneta and Balenciaga on their online shopping malls.
Lotte Department Store will sell luxury duty-free products at its retail channels as of this month, with sale prices said to be up to 40 percent cheaper than tax-free prices.
It is the first time such products have hit stores following the decision by the customs office to allow the sale of duty-free goods that had been in stock for more than six months.
THE WHY? The decision comes amidst a catastrophic combined sales drop of below 1 trillion-won (US$822 million) for duty-free stores combined due to a drastic fall in consumers, and follows a recent announcement that the government will expand the reduction of rental fees for airport duty-free shops.