APPD Market Report Article


September 4, 2023

Veronica Shim, Head of Research, South Korea


KRW 1,608,065


Consumer sentiment index is at a 13-month high

  • The consumer sentiment index in 2Q23 remained upbeat, surpassing the benchmark of 100 in June for the first time since May 2022, posting 100.7. Eased inflation and the recovery in consumer spending, driven by increasing outdoor activities, contributed to the growth. Retail sales recorded -1.4% in April and -0.6% in May y-o-y. Same-department store sales marked 2.5% in April and -0.2% in May y-o-y.
  • The number of monthly overseas tourists in May stood at 867,130, up 392.9% y-o-y. However, it will likely take some time to see numbers return to pre-pandemic levels. The number of Chinese travellers is steadily increasing despite the ban on group travel. Japanese tourists made a significant contribution to the monthly number of foreign travellers, representing the largest share so far in 2023.

Vacancy rates of both Shopping Malls and High Streets contract

  • No new retail assets were introduced to the JLL basket in 2Q23.
  • The vacancy rates of Prime Shopping Malls contracted marginally by 41 bps q-o-q. All Shopping Malls exhibited improved occupancy except Times Stream, Times Square and IFC Mall. Notably, Parnas Mall resolved its vacancy entirely. For High Streets, Garosugil’s vacancy plunged by 1,069 bps q-o-q as it welcomed tenants like Charles & Keith and MLB, while that of other High Streets remained flat.

One hypermarket sale concludes during the quarter

  • Both Shopping Malls and High Streets observed an increase in net effective rents by 0.8% and 0.6% q-o-q, respectively. Looking at High Street districts, rents in Myeongdong showed the largest increase of 1.0% q-o-q, underpinned by the revitalisation in tourism, and other districts exhibited an increase of around 0.5% q-o-q.
  • Market yields for both Shopping Malls and High Streets went up 10 bps, reaching 6.0% and 5.8%, respectively. There was one hypermarket deal in the quarter—Lotte Mart Songpa branch (Munjeong Plaza)—purchased by the local developer, Donghoon, for about KRW 285.0 billion. The seller of the property was KT AMC, financed by the National Pension Service (NPS).

Outlook: Few High Street deals expected; likely traded by individuals

  • The improved consumer sentiment as well as a rebound in tourism should add vitality to the offline retail market. In addition, the lifting of the mask-wearing mandate is expected to boost sales of the cosmetics industry. The growing influx of foreign tourists is also expected to stimulate sales, particularly in tourist-centric commercial districts such as Myeongdong.
  • Investors are expected to continuously face challenges in gauging compelling opportunities in retail assets. Only assets, notably those with significant potential for value-add, will likely attract investor interest. The majority of retail sales are likely to be transactions by individuals rather than financial investors.

Note: Seoul Retail refers to Seoul's prime retail market.

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