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April 22, 2019

Duty-free sales breach W2tr-mark in March

PUBLISHED : April 15, 2019 - 15:35

UPDATED : April 15, 2019 - 15:35

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Sales at South Korean duty-free stores hit a new monthly high in March to breach the 2 trillion-won ($1.76 billion) mark for the first time, industry data showed on April 15.

The combined sales of local duty-free shops reached 2.16 trillion won last month, marking the third consecutive month that domestic duty-free sales have set a new monthly record, according to the data from the Korea Duty Free Shops Association.


The sales increase came despite Beijing’s implementation of a new law in January that levies taxes on small-scale vendors who sell their duty-free purchases, such as cosmetic products, to consumers back home.

An industry source expected Chinese retailers to keep purchasing Korean duty-free items, which are cheaper and more reliable, despite the regulation.

Local duty-free operators have employed an active marketing strategy, including practices like handing out free gift cards to Chinese vendors -- another reason for the stellar sales figure, according to the source.

Last year, sales at Korean duty-free stores reached an all-time high of $17.23 billion, up about 35 percent from a year earlier. The record came despite a fall in the number of Chinese visitors following a diplomatic row over the deployment of an advanced US missile defense system here.

By Ram Garikipati and newswires (ram@heraldcorp.com)

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