Lotte to open 1st drugstore next month

Lotte Shopping Co., South Korea's No.2 retailer, will likely open its first drugstore named "LOHB's" in Seoul in the middle of next month, industry sources said Wednesday. 'Drugstore' refers to a type of store selling not only medicine, but also miscellaneous items such as candy,

Lotte's first drugstore will be located near Hongik University subway station, western Seoul, the sources said. The retailer plans to open its second and third store near the subway stations of Seoul National University in the southern part of Seoul and Gangnam, Seoul's affluent southeastern district.

LOHB's is likely to sell mainly cosmetics without carrying medicine, the sources said. A front-runner in the local drugstore is Olive Young, operated by CJ Group, the country's food and entertainment conglomerate.

Olive Young operates 301 stores in South Korea after launching its first store in 1999. Olive Young plans to open its first Chinese store in Shanghai, China in late April. Market watchers estimate the volume of local drugstore market at 250 billion won (US$ 219.7 million).