Helping smaller firms compete against SSMs

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Helping smaller firms compete against SSMs

The Seoul Metropolitan Government will restrict “super supermarkets” (SSMs) from opening stores within 500 meters (1,640 feet) of traditional markets in Seoul to help smaller merchants, who are struggling to compete against large corporate chains, the city government said yesterday.

According to the city, the number of registered self-employed businesspeople based in Seoul is around 590,000.

“Seoul will take the lead in creating a social safety net for self-employed businesspeople by creating a business-friendly environment to protect self-employed businesses and help them to sharpen their [market] competitiveness,” Seoul Mayor Oh Se-hoon said in a press briefing yesterday.

According to statistics by Seoul city government, 41 percent of the 590,000 self-employed business men and women are engaged in restaurant, supermarket, bakery, fried chicken and meat enterprises. Oh said 58 percent of the self-employed workforce make less than 4 million won ($3,600) in revenue a month before expenses, adding that they are the most vulnerable class because they are hit hard in economic downturns.

Under the plan envisioned by the city, Seoul will request that 25 district offices create an ordinance to protect self-employed businesspeople from SSMs that have been aggressively opening stores to eat up market share in small neighborhoods across the country.

The ordinance will bar SSMs from opening stores within 500 meters of areas where traditional markets are located. Seoul city government will soon send out guidelines to the district offices and hopes to finish legislating the ordinance by February.

To help merchants sharpen their competitive edge against SSMs, Seoul plans to establish three logistics centers by 2012.

By Kim Mi-ju []
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