Melbourne duty free expansion plans revealed as Lotte starts operations

By Kristiane Sherry |

Melbourne duty free opening Lotte

Lotte Duty Free officially kicked off Melbourne duty free operations. L-R: Sunbury MP Josh Bull; Melbourne Airport CEO Lorie Argus; Lotte CEO Mr Kim; Consul-General of Korea Mr Yi,; Lotte Duty Free Oceania CEO Steve Timms.

Melbourne Airport has released plans to expand its retail offering, as Lotte Duty Free becomes its first new tax free operator in 30 years.

Lotte Duty Free won the 10-year contract to run Melbourne’s concession in January

New plans include a renovation of the existing Arrivals Duty Free Experience. The look-and-feel will be inspired by Melbourne’s laneways and architectural style.

The Departures retail space will expand in 2026, with more space for products and in-store activations. 

Melbourne Airport has also relaunched its Laneway online duty free store, giving departing and arriving travellers Click & Collect options. 

International travellers can buy up to two months ahead of travel, and collect purchases from Lotte’s Arrivals or Departures stores.

According to a statement from Lotte Duty Free, passenger numbers through Melbourne in May stood at 740,000, 87.6% of pre-pandemic levels.

“Lotte Duty Free, which has endured the long tunnel of the pandemic, will take a leap forward again based on the successful operation of its Melbourne Airport store in Australia,” Kim Joo-nam, CEO of Lotte Duty Free, said in a speech [from translation].

Lotte Duty Free’s ‘comprehensive’ store

Lotte Duty Free has curated a “comprehensive” duty free store at the airport. Categories span cosmetics, perfumes, alcohol, tobacco and souvenirs. More than 390 brands are represented in the space, from Estée Lauder to Aesop, Johnnie Walker to Penfolds.

The retailer said the Melbourne activity would serve as a “base airport” for a “regional expansion plan”.

Melbourne Airport, Lotte Duty Free

Lotte has curated a ‘comprehensive’ Melbourne duty free store

It currently operates 14 stores in six countries. Its six Oceania outlets saw sales climb 260% last year, according to Lotte. It says it is targeting becoming the top duty free business across the region by 2024.

Melbourne duty free: enhanced luxury reputation

Jai McDermott, Melbourne’s Chief of Retail, expects new luxury brands and travel exclusives to be available.

“Melbourne is widely regarded as Australia’s fashion capital. The Lotte brand will enhance that reputation with luxury items and travel exclusives that can only be found in duty-free,” he said.  

“Significant savings can be found across popular categories including alcohol, cosmetics, perfume and eyewear thanks to GST and tax savings, and Lotte’s loyalty programme.  

“Key in-store features include a mixologist providing holidaymakers with free cocktails, makeup artists offering complimentary tutorials, and skincare consultations, as well as pop-up activations. 

“We look forward to partnering with Lotte to enhance the airport’s retail offering and while delivering an  improved shopping experience for guests.” 

Melbourne duty free, Melbourne Airport

A concept shot of what the Melbourne duty free offering will look like by late 2024.

CEO and Director of Lotte Duty Free Oceania Stephen Timms said his businesses was “thrilled” by the partnership.

“We are looking forward to the store expansions and bringing world-first shopping experiences to Melbourne travellers,” he continued. 

“We look forward to welcoming travellers through Melbourne Airport with an engaging and new fresh approach to Duty Free, which is uniquely Melbourne.” 

As part of the 10-year contract, Lotte Duty Free will preside over a total shopping area of 3,592sqm across the departure and arrival halls. It plans to expand this to 5,800sqm. The retailer is targeting KRW300 billion/US$243 million from Melbourne duty free sales.

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