The impact of the coronavirus has been focused upstream on the supply chain, however retailers have taken a serious hit. The region's duty-free outlets depend on Chinese tourists - and Chinese New Year is typically one of the peak travel seasons.
Not this year. For example, Hotel Lotte’s key business is duty-free, which accounts for 80 percent of total sales. Its estimated market value in 2016 when it last pursued an initial public offering was roughly 15 trillion won ($12.6 billion).
Shilla Duty Free, one of the country's leading duty-free operator, in early February closed its two outlets in central Seoul and on the southern resort island of Jeju after two coronavirus-infected people had each visited the shops.
E-Mart Inc., the country's leading discount chain operator, said its store located in Bucheon, a city just outside of Seoul, has been closed for over a week.
The company said disinfection operations have been made to prevent possible contamination, without disclosing details on re-opening.
"It looks like local consumer confidence just began being affected on news of new confirmed cases and the rising death toll in China, coupled with new confirmed cases in the country," said Park Sang-joon, an analyst at Kiwoom Securities Co. "Consumer confidence in retail sector could possibly further be dented if the number of new cases in the country increases."