World's first Louis Vuitton airport store opens at Incheon

World's first Louis Vuitton airport store opens at Incheon

French luxury brand's new megastore fuels luxury wars at Korean duty free
Even the ribbon looks expensive. From left are Lee Boo-jin, CEO and president of Hotel Shilla, Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, Lee Chae-wook, CEO of Incheon International Airport, and Jean-Baptiste Debains, president of Louis Vuitton Asia Pacific, at the airport store's opening ceremony.

Shopaholics in Asia got another reason to visit Korea as Louis Vuitton's first airport store opened amid massive fanfare at Incheon Airport over the weekend.

After decades shunning airport outlets, the French luxury brand picked Incheon as its flagship location due to its facilities and services, including the fastest procedure for entry and departure, said Yves Carcelle, chairman and CEO of Louis Vuitton, who flew to the Korea for Saturday's opening ceremony. 

According to The Korea Herald, the 550-square-meter airport megastore is expected to bring in 70 billion (approximately US$65 million) in annual sales, thanks to the increasing numbers of Chinese and Japanese travelers that pass through Incheon. 

Louis Vuitton's debut sparked a feud among the airport's brand names. Outraged over Shilla Duty Free's preferrential treatment of Louis Vuitton, Gucci left Shilla to join hands with archival Lotte Duty Free, while Chanel is expected to pull out this month, reported Chosun Ilbo

The preferential treatment? The best space in the airport, and only six to seven percent of revenue as rent. Other brands in the airport pay 20 percent. 

Incheon Airport beat out Schipol International Airport of Holland, Paris' Charles de Gaulle Airport and Singapore's Changi Airport, as all three had attempted to open Louis Vuitton airport stores in the past. 

At Saturday's opening ceremony, Carcelle described the opening as "the world's best airport and luxury brand joining hands."

The world's first Louis Vuitton airport store, brought to you by Shilla Duty Free at Incheon Airport.

More on CNNGo: No Koreans allowed: Foreigner-only duty-free stores to debut next year

Frances Cha is a Digital Producer at CNN Travel. 


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