Am I in a Convenience Store?One would not normally buy good cabbage, fresh fruit, or vegetables at a 'Buy the Way' convenience store. Yet, in Mokdong's 'Buy-the-Way' there are attractive piles of apples, pears, Chinese cabbages, and green onions sitting on a 2 pyong (6.6m sq) stand just inside the entrance. There is so much produce on sale that one could easily think themselves in a large supermarket.
According to store manager Choi Yong-suk, 29, "We prepared this produce corner for our customers who want fruit and vegetables in the middle of the night or at dawn when supermarkets, which are the usual choice for produce, are not open. When sales are robust, produce sales are more than 20 percent of the store's total sales."
Buy-the-way's Dukkye branch in Uijongbu also took into consideration positive customer response when they decided to expand the floor space dedicated to produce.
Convenience stores regard a clean image important, and have traditionally avoided offering fast-food and produce because of image problems.
But, because of marketing offensives by Department Store supermarkets and discount store chains, they have had to respond with their own food and produce strategies.
'Mini Stop,' a convenience store chain subsidiary of Daesang Distribution & Service Co., began offering baked sweet potatoes at the end of last year. They also have hamburgers prepared and presented like any other fast-food chain for sale.
Convenience store chain 'Family Mart' also offers fried food near their cash registers.
In stores in residential areas, over forty kinds of produce and groceries such as tofu, garlic, and apples can be found for sale.
One convenience store chain representative said, "In Japan, the amount of prepared food and produce sold compared to total sales in convenience stores exceeds twenty percent, but in Korea, these products average only five percent of total sales. We need to look into expanding food products that will increase sales."
by Pyo Jae-yong