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SK networks The Walkerhill Duty Free Ready to Revive


- Chairman Choi Shin-Won, “All members poured their best efforts…Let’s develop duty free industry and realize the future of tourism Korea now”
- Completion of duty free shop management system upgrade and warehouse expansion…No problem in opening the duty free store as soon as it obtains patent
- Confident in obtaining patent with the Walkerhill Duty Free’s irreplaceable business plan

Choi Shin-Won, Chairman of SK networks, visited the Walkerhill Duty Free headquarters and checked on the preparation status of a downtown duty free bid and the management plan for 2017. He also made encouraging comments to all members.

On December 12, 2016, Chairman Choi Shin-Won said to the members of duty free headquarters, “Even though the duty free business had been disrupted due to the unexpected loss of patent, all members worked hard in unison, which will inevitably lead to a good result.” He also emphasized, “For the past 24 years, you have devoted yourselves to the development of duty free industry and tourist industry with a great zest and sincerity. Please pour your best efforts until the end to not let our efforts be in vain and write together a new future of Korea Touristic and new history of the Walkerhill Duty Free.”

On December 13, 2016, SK networks announced that the company invested KRW 5 billion to develop a drastically upgraded duty free management system in regard with work processing speed and application to marketing. The company completed the total test of this system and finished all the processes to open the duty free shop as soon as it obtains patent for downtown duty free business. 

The newly constructed operating system of the duty free shop will provide users with more detailed information and improved work process speed by up to 20% through a ‘partner portal management system’.

In addition, as it is possible to check nationalities of customers and purchased items of each departments, this system will play a significant role in setting up a marketing strategy in accordance with the characteristics of small group of Chinese customers and other foreign customers.

An official of the Walkerhill Duty Free said, “We opened a new era in managing bonded items by introducing the industry’s first smartphone-based real-time logistic management in 2014. Based on this advanced know-how, we will develop a new system that is focusing on customer service and providing smooth work process. At the same time, we will provide a differentiated management service as a specialty duty free operator, different from general distribution industry.”

As soon as it obtained the patent again, SK networks was able to get right back to where it had lost the patent within 1-2 months by having different brands pitching their lines in the store through this duty free management system.

Newly constructed boutiques and stores in the first and second floors of the building, which had been expanded from 2014 to 2015 by investing KRW 100 billion, are set to re-open for customers for business.  Existing interiors and furniture are also ready for restocking of products and items from brands.

Compared with the previous warehouse, a new warehouse was expanded to a size twice as big in order to provide enough space to manage stocks of duty free items that will be sold in the total shop space of 4,330 pyeong.

Even after the business had been disrupted and closed in May 2016, the company has continued paying rents for 10 pick-up places located at ports and airports. Therefore, the company still has no problem delivering duty free items to departing customers.

The company also is promoting a differentiated strategy ‘Walkerhill the Complex Resort’ that constructs a ‘Walkerhill Resort Spa’ to open a new future to Korea and Northeast Tourism Belt to activate economy of local community and tourism. As SK innovation applied for downtown duty free patent with this strategy, it is expected that the company can provide competitive services in the duty free business.

In addition, as a duty free operator that explores small/medium businesses such as CUCKOO, the Walkerhill Duty Free is expected to lead the improvement of transaction structure related with small/medium businesses and to provide supports for mutual growth by building four specialty booths including a small business specialty mart (The Cart).

Currently, new duty free shops have been experiencing difficulties in executing mutual growth and achieving sales goals. However, as SK networks possesses more than KRW 1.00 trillion of cash assets and is maintaining industry’s best credit rating (AA-), the company’s capability to raise fund is outstanding. On top of that, Chairman Choi Shin-Won shows a strong will for this business. Therefore, it is expected that the company will be able to lead the duty free business, which needs hundreds of billions of investment, with stability and confidence.  

SK networks, as a company, has been donating more than KRW 5 billion every year and Chairman Choi Shin-Won, who is called as an ‘Asian Hero of Donation’, is also privately making an effort to spread happiness by sharing with under-privileged people, local community, and schools.

In accordance with this, it is expected that the Walkerhill Duty Free will construct a social contribution and mutual growth model that can enable the company to grow along with local community and each boutique or store. 

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