The world’s largest department store is found in Centum City, Busan, South Korea. The store is called Shinsegae, which means “New World” in Korean. Located near Seoul, the store is close to other sightseeing opportunities, such as the Namsan Mountain and Namdaemun Market.
In addition to its flagship store, there are other Shinsegae locations in Incheon, Gwangju, Gangnam, Yeongdeungpo, Gyeonggi, Masan, Uijeongbu, Gimhae, Daegu, and Starfield Hunan.
Shinsegae was originally known as the Japanese Misreukkosi Department Store in the 1930s. The Misreukkosi Store is also the oldest store in Korea. In 1945, the Misreukkosi Department Store was acquired by the late Lee Byung-Chull, a founder of the Samsung Group. It was then renamed Donghwa Department Store.
In 1963, it was named Shinsegae Centum City. In 2007, the store underwent remodeling and opened as a luxury mall. Currently, the Centum City location is the franchise's flagship store.
It is owned by Shinsegae Group, a public company chaired by Lee Myung-hee, the youngest daughter of the late Lee Byung-Chull. Chung Yoo-Kyung, the daughter of Lee Myung-hee, is the company’s president, while Chung Yong-jin (son), is the vice chairman.
The Shinsegae Group also owns E-Mart, the largest retailer in Korea. Other affiliates owned by the same group include Shinsegae Simon Company, Shinsegae International Company, Everyday Retail Company, Chosun Hotel, Starbucks Korea, and Shinsegae Food Company.
Shinsegae Group is known to be the first company to accept credit cards in Korea and also the first to accept partnerships with foreign investors.
The store was designed to attract tourists with features such as high-level amenities, merchandise, and a variety of entertainment facilities.
Its design was inspired by the sea, an icon of the maritime city of Busan. Its exterior lighting depicts a sea of light. Natural light fills the interior of the store, a feature common in most world class shopping stores and malls.
Its interior floors are decorated with a marine motif.
It was officially opened on March 3, 2009. In June 26, 2009, it was recognized by the Guinness World Book of Records as the largest department store in the world.
Shinsegae Centum City covers an area of over 3 million square feet. It has a total of 16 floors, including the basement parking and fashion street. 8 floors host close to 700 renowned stores and brands such as Gucci, Omega, Givenchy, Prada, Chanel, Hermes, Luis Vuitton, and Jimmy Choo.
There are 3 levels of VIP lounges reserved for frequent shoppers and visitors. The top lounge category is reserved for shoppers who spend $40,000-$100,000.
It has an office tower, driving range, movie theaters, golf courses, a spa, cultural spaces, art galleries, and an ice rink.
Products and Services
There are a variey of products found at the store. They include cosmetics, kitchen wares, electronics, furniture, sportswear, luxury brand items, and clothing, among others.
Services include spa treatments, indoor golfing, skating, movies, and food courts.
Amenities provided to customers include valet paring and concierge services. The plazas and water fountains offer a great ambience for relaxation and gatherings.