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From Dead Spaces to Profitable Ones

Posted May. 29, 2007 06:48,   


May 28 was a regular holiday for the Hyundai department store’s Mia branch, but its event hall on the tenth floor was crowded with people. On this day, the department store, together with the Seongbuk-gu office group, held a group wedding ceremony for five couples from the fifties through the seventies who could not have a wedding ceremony otherwise due to financial difficulties. The event hall has been used as a place for cultural performances such as movie previews, plays, or musicals on only business days.

These days, many companies are taking advantage of unused space in their buildings in order to provide various services for customers or to boost their profits. Following this trend, these places are changing into amenities for consumers and the public.

Lee Jeong-deuk, head of the sales strategy team, said, “We moved away from the fixed idea that department stores are just for selling products, and approached them with a view that they can be used for the public good. That will help us not only improve our image, but also increase sales revenue.”

A GS 25 Convenience Store in Suwon decorated the front of the store with a wooden terrace in late March.

Kim Man-ju, head of the sales strategy team at GS 25 Convenience Stores, said, “Usually, the front of our convenience stores featured just parasols and chairs, but after making the place a terrace for the public at one store, its sales revenues rose by as much as 20%. So, we plan to increase the number of stores with such terraces.”

Aekyung Department Store created a miniature moving department store in the parking lot of the group’s production facility in Cheongyang. The company made good use of the parking lot as a sales place to offer goods and services that are sold in department stores to its workers and local people who cannot afford to visit department stores.

I’PARK Department store in Yongsan regularly holds a fashion show by using the floor of its clothing department as a catwalk and laying a red carpet on it.

In the Lotte department store, the “Princess Room” is decorated with pink sofas, tables and laces on the second floor. A once-useless space used as a passageway for its employees has changed into a lounge where female customers can fix their makeup and take a rest.

“Roof parks,” which can be found on the roofs of many department stores these days, are also good examples of transforming “dead places” as “open places.”

GS Square in Guri remodeled its roof, which had been a smoking area and warehouse for its employees, as a theme park. Although the department store ends its business day at 8: 30 p.m. the theme park is open until 9 p.m. as a cultural space for citizens.

On the roof park atop the Hyundai department store in Cheonho which overlooks the Han River, various events such as social meetings, foundation ceremonies of small and medium sized companies, and exhibits introducing new products are held.

On the roof of I’Park department store, people can play various games such as basketball and enjoy golf. Kim Yeong-min, the promotion team chief of the department store, explained that, “It is a big gain for companies to make their roofs, which are considered abandoned spaces, into amenities or restrooms for customers. This is done to induce “shower effects,” which means that consumers raise companies’ profits as they go downstairs from the roof like shower water.”