South Korea’s leading retail giant Lotte is eyeing to purchase domestic and foreign wineries in an effort to beef up its wine business, bolstered by the country’s fast-expanding domestic wine market, the company has revealed in its latest Q4 report.
Confirming the plan, a Lotte Group official said: “We are reviewing good properties at home and abroad, but it is impossible to know when they will be confirmed.”
The news came after wine sales for the retail group grew by more than KRW 167 billion (US$128 million) in 2022 compared with 2021, representing a 20% increase.
Lotte owns supermarkets, department stores, duty-free shops, and five-star hotels at home and abroad. During the pandemic, as home consumption grows, it launched several large-scale wine promotions and opened a large wine shop, Bottle Bunker, in Seoul, Changwon and Gwangju.
The wine sales boom comes amid the country’s fast-expanding domestic wine market. Its domestic wine market has doubled in size in 2021 and is expected to reach KRW 2 trillion (US$1.5 billion) in 2022, according to Euromonitor.
The foray into winery purchase also follows a trend where the country’s retail giants and conglomerates are snatching up wineries to sate domestic consumers’ growing thirst for imported wine.
Shinsegae group which owns the country’s biggest wine company Shinsegae L&B bought Napa’s Shafer Vineyards for reportedly US$250 million. As we have reported Korean conglomerates Doosan and Hanwha have both dialled up investment in wine.
Doosan opened a large-scale wine bar called Tap Shop Bar inside its Doota Mall in central Seoul this year. Hanwha Group just spent US$34 million to acquire Seven Stones winery in Napa Valley.