IADS Exclusive: The Hyundai Seoul: a case for hybrid department stores

IADS Exclusive October 2022 Christine Montard

As one of South Korea‘s leading department stores in the upper segment, Hyundai’s ambition is to “bring happiness to customers and enrich the world”. Seoul is known for its shopping culture as many people frequent department stores. Today, with the e-commerce spike caused by the pandemic, Hyundai is questioning the purpose of physical retail and answering the call for drastic changes in the industry.

Occupying no less than 89,000 sqm across a total of 12 floors (including 4 levels of underground parking) gathering nearly 600 different shops, The Hyundai Seoul first of all offers great architecture. The skyscraper complex where it is located was imagined by Sir Richard Rogers. Various international architects and designers took part of the department store project such as Cmk Architects for the cosmetics and beauty area, and Diego Burdi and Paul Filek for women’s and men’s fashion areas. Landscape designers Woo Kyung- Mi Woo Hyun-mi Design took care of the vegetal parts of the mall. 

Besides offering city dwellers a place where they can shop, experience cafes, restaurants and art, The Hyundai Seoul claims it is Korea’s first eco-friendly department store, bringing together the concepts of nature and rest with shopping. 

Opened in March 2021, the Hyundai Seoul also illustrates the end of a siloed business model which used to separate shopping, entertainment and communication. On the contrary, inspired by young generations and highly in line with social media posting, the department store merges the three businesses into one. IADS partner Nelly Rodi had the occasion to visit the Hyundai: check out what the new department store really has to offer and look at the collection of pictures provided

IADS provides its members with a weekly in-depth analysis on retail-oriented topics. This is an example of the themes the Association regularly addresses, and the topic of an article from the IADS members-only newsletter date 2 November 2022.

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