|Bungaejangter's sneakers reseller BGZT LAB at Starfield Coex Mall in Seoul / Courtesy of Bungaejanger|
By Kim Jae-heun
Department stores are expanding their presence in the used goods market to attract increasingly frugal and price-conscious young consumers, according to retail industry officials Sunday.
Hyundai Department Store's Sinchon branch in western Seoul has become the first retailer to open an entire floor with secondhand shops to change the view that department stores are for old people and can align with youth trends.
"To raise young customers' loyalty, department stores have to offer a unique experience to them. Retailers have to adopt changes first and lead the trend, not chase it," a local department store official said.
The Hyundai Seoul in Yeouido successfully opened a sneakers-only resell store called "BGZT LAB" in February last year and a total of 40,000 people visited the shop as of August. Recently, the store became popular among teenagers as it sells limited edition shoes at discounted prices.
"The price of limited edition sneakers is very high so they were more popular among people in their 20s and 30s. But nowadays, we see many teenagers visit out stores with their parents," a Bungaejangter official said. Bungaejangter is a second-hand goods platform that operates BGZT LAB.
|Secondhand pop-up store Closet Share at Lotte Department Store in Busan / Courtesy of Lotte Shopping|
Lotte Department Store is consistently opening pop-up stores to test customer responses. In September, Lotte opened a secondhand store called "Closet Share" at its Busan branch and all stock was sold out within two days.
Lotte Shopping, which operates Lotte Department Store, also invested about 30 billion won ($23.04 million) in Joongonara, the country's largest e-market for secondhand goods, last March.
Shinsegae Group, another leading retailer in Korea, entered the secondhand market business in January by investing 82 billion won in Bungaejangter through its corporate venture capital, "Signite Partners."
The trend is being welcomed by secondhand e-commerce firms here as they face stagnant business online. They are seeking new opportunities by collaborating with retailers and opening offline stores.
"Opening secondhand stores at department stores is efficiently increasing their market by attracting new customers through various retail channels. This will also allow them to give customers the perception that used items are cool," a local department store official said.