SEOUL-- South Korean retailers are betting on suburban outlets to secure a new profit driver as they find little room for growth in the downtown department store business, industry sources said Wednesday.

Lotte Group, Hyundai Department Store, Shinsegae Co. and other retail conglomerates said they plan to open additional outlets or expand their existing shopping malls on the outskirts of Seoul.

More than nine outlets are scheduled to open in the next two years to meet growing demand from customers who can take short drives outside the city and shop.

Lotte Group is the most aggressive in terms of expanding in the outlet business. It operates the country's biggest department store chains and the second-biggest discount store operation.

The retail giant has a plan to add at least eight new outlets by the end of 2019 across the country.

The company posted double-digit sales growth in its 20 outlets in the past three years. Sales in the retail giant's outlets jumped 41 percent in 2014 from a year earlier, 31 percent in 2015 and 21 percent in 2016.

Source: Yonhap News Agency