Shinsegae Gangnam

Department Store Concept Development

Shinsegae, which literally means “New World” in Korean, was South Korea’s first department store. Today, it is the largest and most prestigious retailer in the country and its department store in Centum City, Busan is also the world’s largest. In the 80 years since its inception, Shinsegae has led the affluent living culture of Korea and was the first to introduce credit and charge cards, international luxury brand concessions and luxury food halls, which rival the finest to be found in Hong Kong, Paris, New York or London.

As part of a major $100m expansion and overhaul of Shinsegae’s 10-story flagship in the fashionable and glitzy Gangnam area of Seoul, the number of outlets was increased from 600 to 1,000 and the selling area increased to just under 90,000 square metres. Around 300,000 people are now expected to visit the Gangnam store daily.

Luxury Branding was engaged to partner with Shinsegae to develop a radical reinvention of its homewares offering and our brief was to deliver a new Home / Living concept to meet and further stimulate demand for premium and luxury homewares in the South Korean market.

We first undertook a detailed market analysis in order to gain a better understanding of the peculiarities and nuances of a local market where families typically live in high-rise apartments that are tiny compared to their equivalents in the West. To understand how affluent Koreans live and aspire to use and furnish their homes, we designed and facilitated consumer focus groups, which were supplemented by pioneering in-home ethnography. We also conducted numerous interviews with senior internal stakeholders and external opinion formers and completed in-market audits of competitors and comparators, in South Korea, Japan, and Europe.

Based on our findings, we developed and detailed an innovative retail proposition for the revitalised Home and Living categories. This comprised a governing lifestyle concept for the whole department, as well as detailed implementation roadmaps for product, presentation, and pricing, including a brand plan, assortment guide, and visual merchandising strategy.

Working to our detailed design brief, interiors for the concept were designed by Patricia Urquiola (see image above) and the new department opened in April 2016 to wide critical acclaim and appreciation from media, commentators and consumers alike. The successful concept is now being implemented as a blueprint across the group’s 10 other Shinsegae stores in Korea.

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