At 89,100 sq m, The Hyundai Seoul is a giant among department stores and when it opened, at the end of last month, it became, at a stroke, the largest of its kind in the South Korean capital.
The point about this 12-storey concern, however, is whether it really merits the department store label at all, or whether this is in fact a shopping mall with all that this implies. Across its many floors, the ‘store’ plays host to around 600 brands and retailers and there is even a 60 sq m unmanned unit, like an Amazon Go store, that trades under the name ‘Uncommon Store’ which, when compared to the other shops, it is.
Note also has to be made of the division between retail and leisure/hospitality. The Hyundai has 15 other outposts in the country and the amount of space devoted to non-retail in this one is almost 50%, the others have about 15% more retail than this. This means a store in which the fifth floor features a 3,300 sq m ‘Sound Forest’: a place of relaxation and perhaps contemplation.
Whether it’s a department store or a mall, it certainly looks something of a departure.