|Shinsegae Department Store's Centum City in Busan |
/ Courtesy of Shinsegae
Shinsegae Department Store aims to make its Busan branch a tourism and shopping landmark in Asia, hoping to unseat Hong Kong in its present position.
"The world's biggest department store, Centum City, has been refurbished and now faces an important opportunity to leap forward," said Jang Jae-young, CEO of one of the country's leading department store chains in a statement. "In cooperation with our affiliates, Shinsegae willingly supports Busan in becoming Asia's best tourist spot," Jang added.
The firm plans to add 18,532 square meters to the site until 2016, investing about 300 billion won ($270 million), to build a cultural complex that offers global fashion brands, a food court, entertainment facilities, and the Chosun Hotel Shinsegae Duty Free Shop. The complex will open in Gijang-gun, Busan later this year.
Built in June 2009, the complex's original site covers an area of 293,905 square meters. In the same year, it was named the largest department store in the world by the Guinness World Records.
Based on the current momentum in revenue, the firm expects its sales next year to top one trillion won ($900 million), which would be the shortest period in the industry in which a company earns one trillion won since its foundation.
"The number of foreigners visiting Centum City more or less tripled since last year. The sales of the company also doubled. We believe the foreign customers will visit this year more than ever," Shinsegae official Lee Jung-ah said.
Centum City opened a men's luxury clothing and accessories shop to capture the high-end market. The shop will carry 50 brands, including Dolce & Gabbana, Vivienne Westwood, Céline, Omega, Lanvin, Bottega Veneta, Burberry and Hugo Boss.
"Hong Kong has been the most popular shopping district thanks to its duty-free goods and the discount policy of the Hong Kong government," another Shinsegae official said
"According to the Wall Street Journal, the Chinese tourists, a center of the consumer goods economy, have spread to Korea, Japan and Thailand, so the growth rate remained low compared to last year. In Busan, on the other hand, the number of foreign visitors grows day by day, increasing 29 percent since 2009. So we are confident of making Busan as well as Shinsegae play an important role in the area."