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Halloween no longer in Pepero Day’s shadow

Oct 19,2019
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Lotte Chilsung Beverage’s Hot6 drink with ghost images, above, and Emart24’s honey marshmallow pancake, above right. [LOTTE CHILSUNG BEVERAGE, EMART24]
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Kids wear Halloween costumes at the Hyundai Livart store in Gangnam District, southern Seoul. [HYUNDAI DEPARTMENT STORE]
With Halloween approaching, retailers and e-commerce operators are introducing Halloween concept snacks and costumes.

Until few years ago, Halloween wasn’t a major promotional holiday for retailers in Korea. But the profile of the spooky holiday is now big enough for operators to create special concept stores for the occasion.

Convenience store operator GS25 has stocked one-third of its stores nationwide with Halloween treats, like snacks packaged like ghosts and stuffed pumpkin toys. It is creating special display corners exclusively selling Halloween-related goods.

GS25 started celebrating Halloween in 2017. It said it decided to expand the promotion following robust sales. Last year, sales of cookies during the Halloween promotional period skyrocketed 243 percent compared to the previous week. Sales of stuffed toys and candies jumped 210 percent and 145 percent during the same period, respectively, while Halloween pastry sales rose 96 percent.

“Halloween promotional goods are especially popular among kids who tag along to the stores with their parents,” said a spokesperson for GS25. “Halloween hadn’t been a big event for convenience store operators since the timing is very close to Pepero Day.”

Pepero Day, which falls on Nov. 11, is a romantic holiday when couples exchange the chocolate snack. Along with Valentine’s Day and White Day, when a man gives his romantic partner gifts, it is one of the three major holidays for convenience operators.

BGF Retail, which operates the CU convenience store chain, said it will give out tickets for Lotte World’s Halloween festival to a select number of people who purchase a Halloween promotional good and post a picture of it on Facebook. Rival 7-Eleven said it is not actively promoting Halloween, while Emart24 said it introduced several Halloween snacks, like a gimbap in ghost-like packaging.

A spokesperson from Emart24 said the company hopes to expand the Halloween promotion next year.

Hyundai Department Store Group’s furniture affiliate Hyundai Livart introduced Halloween costumes for kids that feature uniforms from the “Harry Potter” series. Lotte Department Store is hosting events where actors in Halloween costumes perform in a parade at selected branches.

Daiso also rolled out a Halloween promotion during which visitors can purchase 230 types of Halloween goods. The retailer said 80 percent of the items, which range from pumpkin LED lamps to costumes, are sold at prices below 2,000 won ($1.20).

Starbucks decorated some of its stores for Halloween and has started offering three new Halloween drinks. The drinks include “ghost mocha coffee” and “dancing ghost chocolate.” Dunkin’ Donuts rolled out a Chucky promotion that allows consumers to purchase a Chucky cushion at a discounted price.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]