Global retailers test out Seoul shopping streets

Global retailers test out Seoul shopping streets

A growing number of global retail brands, including fashion brands as well as food and beverage chains, are seeing Seoul's major commercial and retail streets as an opportunity to test out Asian waters.

"Commercial and retail streets, better known as high streets in the UK, have emerged as a key sales and marketing channel for foreign retail brands in Korea since the mid 2000s, when more young Korean consumers started looking for brands to express their own fashion and style beyond brands in department stores,'' said Kelly Nam, an assistant manager of the Korean branch of Cushman & Wakefield, a New York-based real estate consulting firm.

Targeting these new customer breeds in Korea, international brands including H&M, Zara, Forever 21 and Uniqlo spring-boarded into the Korean "high street" market by setting up shop in major commercial areas in Seoul, particularly in Myeong-dong, central Seoul, and near Gangnam Station in southern Seoul ― the top two high streets in Seoul in terms of customer traffic and accessibility.

"Customer traffic is the most important factor for retail brands' street shops as they chose the location for marketing purposes. They think exposure of their brand buildings to pedestrians will be helpful in raising brand awareness,'' Nam said.

According to Cushman & Wakefield, Gangnam-daero street near Gangnam Station, Exit 10, was the most popular destination for fashion labels this year, beating Myeong-dong, a shopping mecca for tourists. Most of the leading foreign and local fashion labels are lined up on the most expensive area on Gangnam-daero.

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