South Korea's duty-free stores are feeling the heat from China's apparant economic retaliation against Seoul's decision to station THAAD, a U.S. missile defense system deemed crucial to protect the nation from Pyongyang's missile attacks, which Beijing perceives as a security threat.
According to industry sources on Tuesday, sales at Lotte Duty Free dropped 25 percent during this past weekend from a year ago.
A stark contrast to the 20 percent increase seen so far this year.
The sharp decline follows China ordering its travel agencies stop selling tour packages to South Korea from March 15th.
As tourists from that country make up about some 80 percent of sales at duty-free stores the decision is a painful one to say the least.
Shilla Duty Free also saw sales dip 20 percent during the same period, while Galleria's numbers tumbled 30 percent on-year since the mid March.
Industry officials fear the impact will be greater in April, as there are still Chinese tourists that made their reservations prior to the travel tour ban.