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Superstores Emphasizing Entertainment

Posted August. 25, 2006 03:03,   

한국어

Hyundai Department Store`s sporting goods store “Sports Mecca” opened in June in COEX Mall located in Samseong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul.

On July 14, Adidas sponsored a fan-signing event featuring soccer players Jo Jae-jin and Lee Ho. The event attracted more than a thousand fans.

Sports Mecca is a mega shop with a 360-pyeong shopping area that specializes in Nike, Adidas, and Reebok products.

The 10-pyeong store that housed more than 20 casual and sports clothing brands transformed into a flagship store (a store that specializes in a few select brands) with just three brands.

“My Nike is different from your Nike” is Sports Mecca’s motto.

Unlike other department stores, where each brand maintains its individual store, here department store buyers manage the store on their own.

In the case of Nike products, Hyundai Department Store purchases its products from the U.S. headquarters before making judgments on the quantity and types of clothing to offer based on the current trend. Fashion shows, hip-hop concerts, and fan signing events featuring athletes take place every month.

The marketing competition between brands is fierce, because big brands clash head to head.

The variety of the products offered here is almost ten-fold of that of other department stores.

Lim Han-oh, a sportswear buyer at the Hyundai Department Store, says, “We only showcase rare products that you can not find anywhere else or those that set trends.”

With discount stores like E-mart and Home Plus imitating the ways of department stores by improving their clothing and cultural services parts, the department stores have aimed to raise their quality and to differentiate themselves with “Mecca stores.”

Department stores can survive only by finding their own color by opening feature stores and theme shops.

Lotte Department Store introduced the “Trendy Theme Zone,” a corner that offers products that are ahead of the trend, on the ninth floor of its Jamsil branch. It states that sales rose 150 percent after this introduction.

In the food department, professional cooks teach customers how to cook in a special corner dubbed the cooking studio. Housewife Sohn Geum-hee (age: 41) says, “I come here often, because I can buy food and learn how to cook at the same time.”

Not only do department stores sell products, but also they display them in certain themes and allow customers to experience the products. They are turning into shopping Meccas, where customers can get their hands on the products.

Housewife Hwang Ye-ram (age: 36) says, “It is great fun to enjoy artwork while shopping.”

Shinsegae Department Store launched its “Sotheby Preview” event in Korea for the first time last October. The event offers customers the chance to view world famous art pieces.

This year, Shinsegae regularly offers “Purple Cake,” an art fair that features the work of domestic artists in their thirties and forties.

Roh Eun-jeong, a manager at the Shinsegae Distribution Industry Research Institute, says, “Department stores will eventually turn to retailtainment (retail and entertainment) to suggest customers a certain lifestyle and to give them pleasure and experience.



imsoo@donga.com