SSMs agree to play ball - for now

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SSMs agree to play ball - for now

Representatives of E-Mart, Lotte Mart and Homeplus met with representatives of small retailers yesterday and agreed that they will not open new stores in cities with populations of less than 300,000, according to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

GS Retail, Lotte Super, E-Mart Everyday and Homeplus Express, commonly known as super supermarkets, also vowed to close their stores for two days a month on weekdays from next month to give smaller rivals a chance to increase their sales as part of the government’s “shared growth” policy.

The large retailers described the second measure as a temporary one as they continue fighting legal disputes about operating on weekends with regional districts and smaller vendors.

The nonbinding pledge came after small vendors and traditional markets blamed large retailers for unfairly encroaching on their territory through aggressive expansions.

In cases where the major retailers are already at an advanced stage of preparing for new stores, however, they said these outlets would be excluded from the pledge and construction would go ahead as planned. They have already bought land or applied for operational licenses for 24 stores and these will go ahead, said Jung Jae-hoon at the ministry.

By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]
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