Shilla ‘diversifying investment’ across categories

By Luke Barras-hill |

Shilla-IncheonT2The Shilla Duty Free has told TRBusiness it is trying to target other merchandise areas as a means of growing its global travel retail footprint.

Shilla already boasts a well-entrenched beauty presence at the likes of Singapore Changi Airport (SIN) and Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) – in the case of the latter it operates under its ‘Beauty&You’ concept having won the beauty, fashion and accessories tender in 2017. [click here for an exclusive interview with Shilla Hong Kong Managing Director Changha Shin].

While Shilla has in the past made secret of its ambitions to become a global beauty powerhouse, it says it remains focused on procuring a versatile assortment in DF&TR.


Taeho Kim, Executive Vice President, Hotel Shilla Co Ltd, Travel Retail Business, Korea Division.


“We actively utilise the online duty free store, which doesn’t have space limits, to offer more of a variety of categories such as pet products and golf goods,” commented Taeho Kim, Executive Vice President, Hotel Shilla Co Ltd, Travel Retail Business, Korea Division.

“When it comes to the fashion category, we keep discovering diverse Korean fashion/accessory brands to help them get into the global market.”

Regarding online, Shilla reported in July it had doubled its Chinese WeChat membership base since introducing WeChat Pay functionality into its official WeChat account in March.

“The newly added WeChat Pay service making it possible for customers to purchase goods directly via Shilla’s official WeChat account is very meaningful in terms of increasing Chinese customers’ accessibility to The Shilla Online Duty Free,” explained Kim.

“Partnering with large businesses like WeChat Pay is of great help to us in attracting new customers.”

Meanwhile, the South Korean travel retailer’s exponential online reach owes as much to it Tipping mobile review service.

Launched in September 2018, Tipping hit 10 million cumulative visitors earlier this year and boasts tens of thousands of product reviews supported by media-rich content.


Asked by TRBusiness whether there are plans to link Shilla’s WeChat and WeChat Pay accounts to the Tipping blog site, Kim said: “As Tipping is currently only available for Koreans, it is difficult to link WeChat.

“However, we are planning to expand Tipping globally in the future and afterwards, we will actively evaluate our options to partner with WeChat.”

Separately, Shilla recently dropped its name into the hat to contest the Singapore Changi Airport liquor & tobacco concession, which DFS Group will vacate next year.


The Shilla Duty Free operates a joint venture with Sky Connection at Macau International Airport.

Victory in the SIN liquor and tobacco contest would cement further Shilla’s influence in Asia, where it already boasts retail space at the big ‘three’ of Incheon (5,580sq m), HKIA (3,283sq m) and Singapore Changi (8,044sq m). Aside its substantial beauty profile at SIN and HKIA, Shilla operates a mix of core categories at Incheon International Airport Terminal’s 1 and 2.

It also possesses the sought-after trio of ‘Korean belt’ concessions at Seoul Incheon, Jeju (400sq m) and Gimpo (553sq m), plus a presence at Macau International Airport (1,210sq m).

Downtown, its footprint spans its main downtown Seoul shop (7,178sq m), Shilla I Park (11,417sq m), Jeju (6,384sq m), Phuket (8,155sq m) and Tokyo (2,317sq m).

As reported, retail operators are eyeing the new Terminal 1 duty free contract at Incheon.

The 10-year opportunity (including a possible five-year semi automatic extension) covers eight concessions and 48 outlets over 8,749sq m of space.

The lots concerned include those currently held by The Shilla Duty Free and Lotte Duty Free won in 2015 [excluding the latter’s surrendered non-L&T lots re-tendered and won by Shinsegae Duty Free last year].


The Shilla Duty Free Seoul downtown store.

Asked whether Shilla would seek to defend the business, Kim merely stated: “We are actively evaluating our options.”

To read more about The Shilla Duty Free, see the Top 10 International Operators 2019 report, available with the October edition of TRBusiness. Click here to subscribe.


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