Korean retailer Lotte Duty Free has unveiled the launch of its new stores in Australia, with aggressive plans to become the dominant duty-free player in ANZ within four years.
Lotte Duty Free recently acquired five JR/Duty Free stores in Australia and New Zealand, four of which are in Australia at the airports of Brisbane, Canberra, Darwin and Melbourne Downtown. The fifth is at Wellington Airport in New Zealand.
The Seoul-headquartered retailer’s CEO, Kap Lee, arrived in Australia this week to unveil the new Brisbane store, where he outlined Lotte Duty Free’s ambitious growth plans for the region.
“Successfully entering into Oceania is the next step in Lotte Duty Free becoming the world’s number one travel retailer and the most influential in the region,” he said.
“We have almost 40 years of retail excellence that is being introduced to Australia and New Zealand, working side by side with our local colleagues to better understand the unique wants and needs of people travelling through the region from all nationalities.”
Lotte Duty Free has set its sights on becoming the leading duty-free retailer in Australia and New Zealand by 2023. In its first year operating in the two countries, it has targeted sales of $US200 million.
The entry into the local market is a bid to capture a greater share of spending by Chinese tourists. According to the company, the number of Chinese tourists entering Australia has grown by more than 10 per cent in recent years, and that “Chinese consumers are some of the biggest spenders globally”.
Figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) in February found that visitors from China accounted for 1.43 million trips to our shores in 2018 — a rise of 6 per cent on the previous year.
That knocked New Zealand off the top of the list of the countries of origin for visitors to Australia — a ranking the Kiwis had held since 1999.
Lotte Duty Free’s Brisbane store is by far the largest in terms of footprint in Australia and New Zealand, spanning some 2,795 square metres. The other Australian stores vary in size between 106 and 692 square metres of floor space, while the Wellington store covers 1,402 square metres.
The local launch now takes to eight the number of countries in which the retailer operates, including its native Korea as well as Vietnam, Japan, Indonesia, Thailand and the US territory of Guam.
Adam Zuchetti is the editor of My Business, and has steered the publication’s editorial direction since early 2016.