Posted October. 15, 2014 06:15,
South Korean retail giant Lotte Group on Tuesday opened the country`s largest shopping mall on the lower floors of its 123-story skyscraper in Jamsil, southern Seoul. Lotte Department Store`s upmarket branch Avenuel, Lotte Mart and Lotte Hi-Mart were the first retails to open their shops at the mall.
Some customers had their eyes wide open at the sight of the country`s largest shopping mall, while there was some confusion due to parking issues and protests against the giant commercial facility. At the Avenuel, some customers browsed shops with curious eyes, taking selfies to mark their visits on the first day of opening. The mall was just a little more crowded than department stores usually are on regular weekdays.
Visitors` views were divided. "Where else in Seoul do we have such a big shopping mall? I like it because this mall has many brands that other department stores don`t," said Hwang Seung-gyeong, who came with her friend for shopping. "I will come again even though I have to leave my car at home because of parking issues." Park Gyeong-sook, a local resident, complained about traffic congestion. "They should have listened to local residents` opinions before opening."
Concerns over a parking reservation system and paid parking became reality. Just about 500 cars made a reservation for a parking space. Although the parking lot was largely empty, customers who drove without knowing the reservation system had to turn around at the entrance. "They don`t allow me to park because I didn`t make a reservation. I just have to go back," said one male customer in his 30s. Many other drivers parked their vehicles at the nearby Lotte Department Store`s Jamsil branch. While business was slow at the shops at the Jamsil branch, the parking lot put up a signboard saying "full" from early in the morning.
The Lotte Group seems to be breathing a sigh of relief, as the first day passed smoothly in general. "We are refraining from marketing activities because the big three luxury shops -- Louis Vuitton, Hermes and Chanel -- have yet to open and the parking facilities are still in test," a Lotte official said.