Stores in 2 districts can open Sunday

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Stores in 2 districts can open Sunday

Going against the government’s campaign to save mom-and-pop stores against large discount chain stores, the Seoul Administrative Court yesterday upheld an injunction filed by E-Mart, Homeplus and Lotte Mart against Songpa and Gangdong district offices for imposing mandatory holidays twice a month against seven discount chain stores and 48 super supermarkets in the areas.

Yesterday’s ruling allows the retailers to open stores in Songpa and Gangdong tomorrow when other outlets across the country are required to take a mandatory day off.

Under an ordinance passed by the two district offices, big stores are required to close on the second and fourth Sunday of every month and also scale back operating hours of their 24-hour stores.

“Our stores in the two regions will open for both Saturday and Sunday this week,” said Choi Ha-na, a spokeswoman at Lotte Mart.

E-Mart and Homeplus also confirmed they will operate their outlets in the two regions.

The verdict, however, suggested that Gangdong and Songpa’s mandatory holiday regulation may come back into force.

The court said it ruled in favor of the big retailers this time because the two districts skipped necessary legal procedures, such as notifying the retailers in advance and having a public hearing on the matter, which should have come before the regulation was introduced.

Should the two districts carry out the necessary legal procedures, they can impose the regulation, the verdict said.

Retailers say 40 percent of their revenues come from weekend sales.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

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