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South Korea's Lotte converting physical stores into online bases

Retail group faces increasing competition from e-commerce challengers

The Lotte Mart Junggye store in a Seoul residential area. Products ordered online go from the sales floor to an upper conveyor to be moved for loading on delivery trucks. (Photo by Kotaro Hosokawa)

SEOUL -- Lotte, a major South Korean conglomerate, is betting on new services such as e-commerce as a way to compete against challengers in the sector as it struggles to rebuild its core retail business.

While closing 20% of its stores under direct management, Lotte is also seeking to attract consumers with delivery of online-ordered merchandise from supermarkets to customers within two hours. And it will make use of data on 40 million consumers in the country as a groupwide competitive strategy.

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