One-Stop Luxury in the Center of Moscow
By Sonya Rinkus
Get your luxury on, Moscow. Downtown is overflowing with places to buy international designer goods. But now you can buy them all in the same place, from furniture to jewelry to baby food. On September 2, catchall luxury center Lotte Plaza opened in downtown Moscow, at the intersection of Novy Arbat and the Garden Ring. Named for South Korean company Lotte Group, which financed the project, it will house Lotte Department Store, the first Asian department store to open in a Western country.
The South Korean retailer invested $400 million in Moscow’s Lotte Plaza as part of its strategy for international expansion. Construction on the 21-storey retail space began in 2002. At that time, a Lotte representative told the Korea Herald that the building, the Group’s first venture in Russia, would “serve as a foothold for the group’s efforts to become a global enterprise.” According to the newspaper, the idea of a “Lotte Town” in Moscow was first broached in the late 1980s at the Seoul Olympics when Lotte Group officially sponsored Russian athletes. Since then, the company has grown to become the leading retailer in South Korea, Asia’s third largest economy.
The first Lotte shopping center opened in 1979. Bloomberg reported that at the end of 2007, Lotte owned 23 department stores, 52 supermarkets, 52 discounters and six duty-free shops within South Korea. Last year, it raised $3.5 billion in the country’s largest initial public offering. Lotte Plaza is its first project outside of the country. Kim Sun-Kwang, President of Lotte Shopping Rus, said, “Lotte Plaza is fast becoming a landmark in central Moscow and a much sought-after base for flagship stores. We believe that the unprecedented in Russia eight-floor luxury and premium shopping experience proves the growing demand for high-end retail in this increasingly dynamic market.”
What’s in store for shopaholics? Eight floors of retail space for brands whose names are synonymous with luxury. Real estate advisers Cushman & Wakefield Stiles & Riabokobylko (C&W/S&R) acted as agents for Lotte Group, bringing in over 60 retailers to Lotte Plaza: Mercury (Prada, YSL, Gucci, D&G, Jimmy Choo, Miu Miu, Mulberry, Balenciaga, Chloe, Baccarat, etc), Crocus International (Emanuel Ungaro, Nina Ricci, Sergio Rossi, Plein Sud, Paul Ka, Les Copains, J Lo, etc), Zara and many others. Korean brands will also be represented in the department store for the first time in Russia, including Bean Pole, Love-Cat and Cu-Cu. In a press release, Anna Shchapova, Senior Consultant at the Retail Department of C&W/S&R, said, “We are extremely proud that Lotte Group’s first venture in Russia will house such a wide range of well-known brands under one roof and we hope that Lotte Plaza will become the most desirable luxury and premium shopping destination in central Moscow.”
On the subterranean floor, shoppers can pick up groceries in familiar Russian supermarket chain Azbuka Vkusa, as well as gourmet food store Organiclub and sushi market Sushiyobi. Dry-cleaning, travel booking and pharmaceutical purchases may also be completed on that level. The first floor carries cosmetics and accessories, the second and third women’s clothing and shoes; the fourth menswear; the fifth children’s clothing and home supplies, including boutiques Joop Living and Maison de Famille; the sixth electronics and media, including Moscow bookstore chain Respublika; and the seventh a high-end food court with Russian, European, Asian and Caucasian cuisines. Casual window shoppers may enjoy three panoramic lifts and terrace restaurants on the third and seventh floors. One-hour of parking in the lot across from Lotte Plaza is free with a 500-ruble purchase. Additionally, a 60,000-sq. m. five-star hotel is scheduled to open in 2008, and C&W/S&R is looking for tenants for three floors of office space within the building.
Lotte Plaza strives to integrate Korean standards of maintenance to Russia and to uphold the slogan “Customers Come First,” a novelty in Moscow’s service industry - as good thing to know, as you’re loading up on coffee machines, organic groceries and Jimmy Choo heels.