Louis Vuitton Doubles Down on Korean Department Stores

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The facade of the Louis Vuitton store in Paris, France. Getty Images.

This summer, the luxury giant will unveil two new menswear boutiques in Seoul department stores as global travel restrictions continue to batter the country’s duty free players, The Korea Times reports.

Just this month, The Moodie Davitt Report wrote that Louis Vuitton was “progressively withdrawing” from its downtown duty free business — not only in South Korea, but across markets like Hong Kong and Macau — to refocus on airports, including traffic-heavy terminals in mainland China. The brand did not immediately respond to a request for comment from BoF.

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The move not only highlights the luxury giant’s desire to tap Korea’s fast-growing menswear market, which has gained momentum from more relaxed office dress codes post-pandemic, but also reflects longer term efforts to cut off grey market proxy shoppers, or “daigou,” that have been known to buy from downtown duty free stores for Chinese clients.

Moreover, Korea’s department stores are booming as consumer sentiment recovers from the pandemic. In April, department store sales jumped 34.5 percent from 2020; luxury was a bright spot, where sales soared 57.5 percent year-on-year.

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