KCS permits surplus stock to be sold in Seoul downtown duty free stores

By Andrew Pentol |


Retailers such as Shilla Duty Free can now sell surplus stock in certain public areas of downtown duty free stores in Seoul.

Korean travel retailers were granted permission yesterday (7 July) by the Korea Customs Service (KCS) to sell surplus stock accumulated during the Coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic in certain areas of Seoul’s downtown duty free stores.

According to a KCS document seen by TRBusiness, unsold stock can be offered in areas such as lounges, resting areas and information desks until 29 October 2020.

The document suggests that Korean industry stakeholders asked the authorities to give retailers permission to dedicate space in stores for the sale of duty free inventory.

In normal circumstances, duty free shops are considered bonded areas, where only duty free items can be sold. But due to the pandemic, the KCS has allowed surplus stock to be sold in the aforementioned areas. For the time being, these areas are no longer considered directly related to the sale of duty free products and now deemed public spaces.

This significant development will help the Korean travel retail industry recover from the sharp drop in sales as a result of Covid-19.


As reported, the KCS accepted a request from duty free players in April to sell mounting product inventories on the local market and through other channels due to the pandemic.

Korea Customs Service Press Release July 2020

The decision to allow Korean retailers to sell unsold stock in certain public areas of Seoul downtown duty free stores was announced yesterday (7 July).

Consequently, Lotte Duty Free, began shifting unused stock worth KRW20bn/$16.5m in the local market beginning 23 June. It also revealed plans to draw on its distribution network to maximise sales.

Online sales were due to start on 23 June through the ‘Lotte On’ platform, followed by sales at eight domestic branches.

The retailer has since commenced the second phase of online stock-sales. An expanded product range of 29 brands and 800 products is now available. Items include bags, shoes, watches, beauty and more than 100 pairs of sunglasses. Higher discounts of up to 70% are also on offer.

A KCS Official said: “We plan to strictly manage and supervise the sale of the duty free inventory [in the areas allocated for the sale of unsold duty free stock — Ed].”

TRBusiness is seeking industry reaction to this breaking news and will bring you more in due course.




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