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Lotte Shopping stresses profitability as utmost priority

Lotte Shopping CEO Kang Hee-tae (Lotte Shopping)
Lotte Shopping CEO Kang Hee-tae (Lotte Shopping)

Lotte Shopping said Friday it plans to undergo major restructuring, including shutting down money-losing stores and sluggish businesses, while taking measures to strengthen its e-commerce platform.

Lotte Shopping operates the retail unit of Lotte Group, including the department store and mart.

During its general shareholders meeting held in Seoul, Lotte Shopping CEO Kang Hee-tae announced improving profitability as the company’s utmost priority this year.

“While we expect a difficult business environment this year, we will work to enhance profitability and raise shareholder value by utilizing Lotte Shopping’s core competencies, such as our physical infrastructure, capable merchandisers and customer-generated data,” Kang said, vowing to seek new growth engines.

Lotte Department Store plans to reinforce its store management, while Lotte Mart and Lotte Super will improve the quality of fresh food products and reinforce the storage system to gain a competitive edge.

The company also said it will focus all of its capabilities on Lotte ON, a new online shopping mall that will integrate all existing online platforms -- to be launched around end-April.

For the new e-commerce platform, the company said it will provide personalized shopping experiences for 39 million registered customers -- the largest among retailers in Korea.

Lotte Shopping announced an unprecedented downsizing plan last month to shut down some 200 of its department stores and marts -- about 30 percent of its 700 stores.

The company’s profitability has eroded in recent years. It reported an 83.6 percent expansion in net loss to 853.6 billion won ($721 million) in 2019, compared to the year earlier, and its operating profit was 428 billion won, down 28.3 percent during the same period.

By Jo He-rim (herim@heraldcorp.com)
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