When it comes to upscale, then you’ll find no better place than shopping at Korean department stores. In Korea, all the largest and most luxurious shopping centers are owned by large conglomerates (Chaebol) such as Hyundai and Lotte.
Most department stores are equipped with a multi-lingual support staff that can service in English, Mandarin(Chinese) and Japanese. Department stores are placed conveniently near subway stations or major transportation hubs to attract tourists and locals. The main branches can be found throughout Seoul and with additional branches throughout the entire nation.
Department stores sell a variety of different products, from large international brands to daily use household items. However, unlike other kinds of shopping centers or markets, Department stores are considered pricier. Expect to pay a bit more for something you can easily get at a local market or convenient store.
Department stores are known for promotional seasons. During these periods, household items and local specialties will go on sale for a much more affordable price. Some of these promotional periods may also include celebrations such as surprised appearance by K-pop singers.
There are three major department store brands that are well known by Koreans. But there are several other department stores that are just as prominent. We’ll take a look at some of them.
Shinsegae Department Store
In Korean, the word Shinsegae means “New world”. Shinsegae department store was once a part of the Samsung Group chaebol. However, they separated in 1990 along with other large groups and became its own enterprise.
Historically, the main branch is located at what was once the first department store in Korea called Mitsukoshi, a japanese department store franchise. During the period when Korea was occupied by the Japanese empire, Mitsukoshi Department Store was erected in 1930.
- Main Store (Main Building & New Building) (본점 본관, 신관) in Jung-gu, Seoul
- Gangnam Store (Main Building & New Building) (강남점 본관, 신관) in Seocho-gu, Seoul the express bus terminal
- Yeongdeungpo Store (Building A, Building B & Luxury Hall) (영등포점 A관, B관, 명품관) in Times Square, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
- Incheon Store (인천점) in Nam-gu, Incheon
- Gyeonggi Store (경기점) in Suji-gu, Yong-in, Gyeonggi-do
- Shinsegae Centum City (신세계 센텀시티) in Centum City, Hae-undae-gu, Busan
- Masan Store (마산점) in Masan-Happo-gu, Changwon, Gyeongsangnam-do
- Gwangju Shinsegae (광주신세계, KRX: 037710) in Seo-gu, Gwangju
- Chungcheong Store (충청점) in Dongnam-gu, Cheon-an, Chungcheongnam-do
- Uijeongbu Store (의정부점) in Uijeongbu, Gyeonggi-do
- Hanam Store (하남점) in Hanam, Gyeonggi-do
- Gimhae Store (김해점) in Gimhae, Gyeongsangnam-do
- Daegu Shinsegae (대구신세계) in Dongdaegu station, Daegu
Hyundai Department Store
Part of the big three, Hyundai department store is in direct competition with Shinsegae and Lotte Department Store. It is part of the Hyundai Department Store Group, which has other subsidiaries in the service industry such as Hyundai Home Shopping and Hotel Hyundai.
The flagship store located in Apgujeong was opened in 1985. This branch is known for its high quality shopping.
- Apgujeong Main Store (압구정 본점) in Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- World Trade Center Store (무역센터점) in Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Cheonho Store (천호점, PHOTO SE SEOUL ) in Gangdong-gu, Seoul
- Sinchon Store – Main Building & U-PLEX (신촌점 본관, 유플렉스) in Seodaemun-gu, Seoul
- Mia Store (미아점) in Seongbuk-gu, Seoul
- Mokdong Store (목동점) in Yangcheon-gu, Seoul
- Jungdong Store (중동점) in Wonmi-gu, Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do
- Kintex Store (킨텍스점) in Ilsanseo-gu, Goyang, Gyeonggi-do
- Pangyo Store (판교점) in Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do
- Ulsan Store (울산점) in Nam-gu, Ulsan
- Ulsan Dong-gu Store (울산동구점) in Dong-gu, Ulsan
- Busan Store (부산점) in Dong-gu, Busan
- Daegu Store (대구점) in Jung-gu, Daegu
Lotte Department Store
Lotte Department Store is a Korean retail company that is considered to be among the top three chains in Korea. The main branch was established in 1979 at Sogong-dong.
Lotte Department Store is part of the large conglomerate Lotte Corporation which originated in Tokyo, Japan. The company, originally known for selling chewing gum to children, became a large multinational corporation that has major businesses in food products, shopping, finance, construction, amusement parks, hotels, etc.
The department store is part of the Lotte Shopping business unit which also includes Lotte Duty Free, Lotte Mart and Lotte Super.
- Main Store (본점), Young Plaza Myeondong (명동 영플라자) & Avenuel Main Store (에비뉴엘 본점) in Jung-gu, Seoul
- Jamsil Store (잠실점) & Avenuel World Tower (에비뉴엘 월드타워점) in Songpa-gu, Seoul
- Yeongdeungpo Store (영등포점) in Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul
- Cheongnyangni Store (청량리점) & Lotte Cheongnyangni Plaza (롯데 청량리 플라자) in Dongdaemun-gu, Seoul
- Gwanak Store (관악점) in Gwanak-gu, Seoul
- Gangnam Store (강남점) in Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Nowon Store (노원점) in Nowon-gu, Seoul
- Mia Store (미아점) in Gangbuk-gu, Seoul
- Star City Store (스타시티점) in Gwangjin-gu, Seoul
- Gimpo Airport Store (김포공항점) in Gangseo-gu, Seoul
- Incheon Store (인천점) in Namdong-gu, Incheon
- Bupyeong Store (부평점) in Bupyeong-gu, Incheon
- Bundang Store (분당점) in Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do
- Ilsan Store (일산점) in Ilsandong-gu, Goyang, Gyeonggi-do
- Anyang Store (안양점) in Manan-gu, Anyang, Gyeonggi-do
- Pyeongchon Store (평촌점) in Dong-an-gu, Anyang, Gyeonggi-do
- Jungdong Store (중동점) in Wonmi-gu, Bucheon, Gyeonggi-do
- Guri Store (구리점) in Guri, Gyeonggi-do
- Ansan Store (안산점) in Danwon-gu, Ansan, Gyeonggi-do
- Suwon Store (수원점) in Gwonseon-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do
Hanhwa Galleria Department Store
The Hanhwa Galleria Department Store is widely known the fashion mall for having famous luxury-brands. The main branch, known as Luxury Hall West and Luxury Hall East, is found centered in the affluent district of Apgujeong-dong.
Galleria Department store is a franchise owned by the large conglomerate Hanhwa Group. The group was originally founded as a business dealing with explosives, but has become a multi-profile business conglomerate that also deals with retail and financial services.
Galleria has 5 known stores available in South Korea and is much smaller than the other big three department stores.
- Luxury Hall East and West in Apgujeong-dong, Gangnam-gu, Seoul
- Suwon Store in Paldal-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do
- Time World Store in Seo-gu, Daejeon
- Center City Store in Seobuk-gu, Cheon-an, Chungcheongnam-do
- Jinju Store in Jinju, Gyeongsangnam-do
NC Department Store
NC Department Store is a fashion mall that provides some of the best offers for famous luxury brands. The Gangseo branch department store is located very near Gimpo International Airport, 3 subway stops away.
The department store is owned by the conglomerate E-land Group which originally started as a fashion clothing store in front of E-wha University in Sinchon in 1980. However, the company grew and now takes part in retail malls, restaurants, them parks, hotels and construction businesses.
- Gangseo Branch in Gangseo-dong, Gangseo-gu, Seoul
- Eunpyeong Branch in Daejo-dong, Eunpyeong-gu, Seoul
- Sonpa Branch in Munjeong 2-dong, Songpa-gu, Seoul
- Bundang Branch in Yatap-dong, Bundang-gu, Gyeonggi-do
- Seomyeon Branch in Jeonpo 1-dong, Busanjin-gu, Busan
- Haeundae Branch in Jwa 1-dong, Haeundae, Busan
AK Plaza Department Store
AK Plaza Department Store has many brand name products from beauty and cosmetics to sportswear. AK Plaza is popular among many Koreans in their 20’s.
The department store franchise is owned by the conglomerate Aekyung Group. The company originally began as a soap manufacturer in 1954, but now has grown to run several subsidiaries from personal care goods to even having their own airline, Jeju Air.
The company has a large profile when it comes to personal care, having many household brands such as the 2080 toothpaste and dishwasher fluid Trio.
The first department store opened in Guro District, Seoul in 1991.
- Guro Main Store (구로본점), adjacent to Guro Station in Guro-gu, Seoul
- Suwon Store (수원점), sharing a building with Suwon Station in Paldal-gu, Suwon, Gyeonggi-do
- Bundang Store (분당점) (formerly Samsung Plaza), above Seohyeon Station in Bundang-gu, Seongnam, Gyeonggi-do
- Pyeongtaek Store (평택점), adjacent to Pyeongtaek Station in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi-do
- Wonju Store (원주점) in Wonju, Gangwon-do