Department stores vying for traditional market stalls to lure young consumers

2024. 3. 5. 12:03
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[Courtesy of Igane Topokki]
Major department stores in South Korea are intensifying their efforts to feature popular eateries from traditional markets, aiming to entice tech-savvy millennials and younger generations who are inclined toward online shopping.

Over the weekend, Hyundai Department Store’s Pangyo branch witnessed a long queue of customers eager to grab a bite at Igane Topokki, a snack bar that originated in Bupyeong (Kkangtong) Market in Busan. Established in 1997, Igane Topokki gained fame in Bupyeong Market for its deliciously spicy broth and eventually expanded its presence across the nation. In 2021, the store made its debut in department stores, starting with Hyundai Department Store’s Pangyo location, followed by Chungcheong, Cheonho locations, and last year, KINTEX location.

Hyundai Department Store has continued this trend by featuring various market eateries. In 2022, Hongje-dong Udon Noodles entered the department’s KINTEX location, and in 2023, Darijib opened in the D-CUBE CITY location, both renowned for their delicacies in Seoul’s Hongje-dong Inwang Market and Busan’s Nampodong, respectively. The average monthly sales of these market-originated eateries that joined Hyundai Department Store last year increased by 15 percent compared to the previous year.

[Courtesy of BASAK MACHA]
The trend of department stores showcasing market eateries is not limited to well-established restaurants. It also includes newcomers gaining attention on social media. BASAK MACHA, a popular eatery from Mangwon Market in Seoul, is a prime example. Originating from a chef with a background in a 7-star hotel, BASAK MACHA specializes in handmade tonkatsu. Shinsegae Department Store opened a BASAK MACHA store in its Gangnam location in October 2020, and due to its success, another store was added in the Times Square branch in April 2023.

Some market-based restaurants inside department stores are located in multiple department stores after receiving positive responses. Seoul Tteokgalbi and Wooyirak, which are located in both Lotte Department Store and Hyundai Department Store, are prime examples. Wooyirak is a Korean-style pancake restaurant that originated in Mangwon Market in Seoul.

Collaborating with Seoul Tteokgalbi, a company specializing in on-the-spot sales of premium pork ribs, the joint brand Seoul Tteokgalbi & Wooyirak has become a hit in both Lotte and Hyundai Department Stores.

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