Chanel makes Incheon T1 return after six years

By Luke Barras-hill |

Chanel has opened under Hyundai Department Store Duty Free’s existing DF7 Fashion and Miscellaneous Goods licence.

As first anticipated by TRBusiness, Hyundai Department Store Duty Free has unveiled its Chanel boutique at Incheon International Airport Terminal 1.

The opening on 1 October marked the return of Chanel at Terminal 1 after a six-year absence, having departed in 2015, although Chanel (operated by Shinsegae Duty Free) has been present at Terminal 2 since its opening in 2018.

Chanel joins Louis Vuitton and Hermes in anchoring the luxury offer across the airport’s commercial areas.

In a climate where luxury brands remain under sustained pressure in a contracted travel retail sector, the new opening has ‘great implications’ says IIAC.


Located in the boutique zone in the central area of the terminal, the 405sq m shop is open daily from 06:30am to 09:30pm.

Visitors to the store will be struck by an arresting façade comprising white lacquered panels reminiscent of pleated fabrics and expansive windows.

Incheon Airport held an opening event on 1 October attended by key officials from IIAC, Hyundai Department Store Duty Free and Chanel, including Kyung Wook Kim, President of IIAC (third from left); and Stéphane Blanchard, CEO, Chanel Korea (fifth left).

Inside, the boutique charm is brought to life through distinctive fashion, leathergoods and watches & jewellery zones that offer passengers a versatile, seamless shopping experience.

“It can be seen that global brands recognise airport duty free shops as a key pillar of important shopping channels in the period of travel demand recovery,” said Incheon International Airport Corporation (IIAC) in a statement.

Kyung Wook Kim, President, IIAC said: “We are pleased with the achievement of the Chanel opening, which is the result of hard work at the company level, including drastic rent cuts, an expansion of boutique areas and significantly increased facades heights.

“The opening of Chanel is expected to signal the revitalisation of airport duty free industry. In the upcoming […] era we will try to design and develop various spaces suitable for a high-quality shopping environment to provide the best customer experience.”

Hyundai Department Store Duty Free’s licence also includes a new Rolex boutique at the T1 West Wing departure concourse and joins an assembly of more than nine leading luxury boutique openings for the retailer in the second half of this year.


Meanwhile, the wait to decide the fate of the unclaimed Terminal 1 concessions goes on.

As reported, Shinsegae Duty Free, Hyundai Department Store Duty Free and Kyung Bok Kung Duty Free are currently running the liquor & tobacco (DF3, DF4) and fashion & misc licences (DF6) vacated by Lotte Duty Free and Shilla Duty Free earlier this year.

Lotte and Shilla had been operating extended leases for the DF2 (now terminated), DF3, DF4 and DF6 concessions, but these expired on 28 February and could not be renewed under Korean law. The new licences began on 1 March and run until 31 December.

IIAC told TRBusiness that a plan will be in place to accommodate the temporarily operated units at Terminal 1 should a new bidding round not materialise by the time the current licences expire at the end of 2021.

Speaking to TRBusiness in the Top 10 International Operators e-zine, available alongside the October e-zine (both available next week), Lotte and Shilla say the decision to bid would be taken after careful consideration of the RFP, should that indeed be forthcoming due to the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

Click here for an in-depth interview with Hyundai Department Store Duty Free in the TRBusiness June e-zine.


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