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Korea Blog: Stuffed Animals, Dust Masks, Pet Food, and Sex Toys, All Side-By-Side in Korea’s “New Shopping Paradigm”

Ask Seoulites in their twenties and thirties where they shop, and much of the time you’ll get an answer along the lines of, “I buy everything online.” The density of every kind of store here in the capital seems exceeded only by the popularity of avoiding stores entirely by buying things online. You can’t argue with the convenience: food ordered on the internet arrives within the hour — or within a fraction of the hour — and same-day delivery delivery can be arranged for most everything else. This trend has begun put a fair few legacy retailers in tight spots, and the industry as a whole has found itself in search of a fresh way to appeal to the cohort that in America would be called (and in Korea is increasingly called) the Millennials. Enter a chain that has announced itself loudly, in every sense of the word, as Korea’s “New Shopping Paradigm“: Pierrot Shopping.

Since opening its first location last summer in the mall at Coex, Gangnam’s big convention center, Pierrot Shopping has also begun pumping out its brand-making farrago of color and sound from a couple other locations around Seoul as well, with more already under construction. If you happen to get near one of them, its surrounding advertising blitz — including but not limited to flapping wind-sock figures and animations looping on wall-covering video screens — won’t let you remain ignorant of that fact. “It sells luxury brands but it’s not a department store,” announces one billboard-sized notice at Coex. “It sells adult products but it’s not an adult shop. It sells makeup, colored contact lenses, perfume, body and hair products, diet foods, and health products but, regrettably, it’s not a drugstore. It sells products for dogs, but people are more welcome.” What, then, is Pierrot Shopping? Only the place’s physical reality can offer an answer.

Read the whole thing at the Los Angeles Review of Books.