By  on April 17, 2009

SEOUL — Walk into any of South Korea’s three biggest department stores and it would be hard to believe predictions that Asia’s fourth-biggest economy will contract this year. The floors of Seoul’s biggest department stores are teeming with shoppers.

At Hyundai’s flagship in the trendy Apujong area, shoppers are overwhelmingly well-heeled Korean women. Clad in designer jeans and jackets if under age 40 or in fur jackets if over 50, they clutch shopping bags with European designers’ motifs as they ride escalators with friends to the store’s restaurants for lunch.

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