[Sponsored Report] Lotte Department Store gives help to traditional markets

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[Sponsored Report] Lotte Department Store gives help to traditional markets

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Shin Heon, the president and CEO of Lotte Department Store, met with store managers of eight locations and presidents from merchant associations on Tuesday to discuss plans to support traditional markets.

Lotte Department Store has taken a stand to help out traditional markets as part of its corporate social responsibility efforts. The “Win-Win” Traditional Markets program provides its top-class know-how and other assistance needed to improve the markets’ business environment, services and marketing. Instead of competing with traditional retailers, the department store aims to coexist with traditional markets and further develop other programs to meet the goal.

Traditional markets have suffered as the economy lags and competition increases from franchise superstores. As their struggle has become a social issue, government institutions have done their best to help by modernizing facilities like roofs and parking spaces. To add to these efforts, Lotte will put its funding and staff to work on overall market atmosphere, hygiene and customer services. It expects to see consumers come back to revived traditional markets to relive their childhood dreams and memories.

This month, the company began raising 5 billion won ($4.47 million) to provide practical assistance that aims to create vibrant and fun markets.

The department store will provide professionally trained staff and pass down special know-how about holding events. It will attract young customers with B-boying and clowns, and will build new facilities for the audiences.

Heads of customer service, cleaning and safety teams will visit the markets to share service tips with the market merchants and hold training sessions. They will also check the site and provide lacking equipment like fire extinguishers and plastic gloves.

For customers, the company will install new market maps and directional signs so that they can locate their favorite stores more easily. It will produce standardized grocery bags with each market’s name and logo in order to create a professional image.

Through its subsidiary finance company, Lotte Smile Microcredit Bank, the company also plans to give scholarships and low-interest loans to 200 selected merchants with children in high school and college. Older kids will be able to hold weddings at the department store’s cultural centers at no cost. To help the parents, it will cooperate with the Korean Open Doctors Society to provide health checkups at the marketplaces.

In order to ensure the effectiveness of its efforts, the company specifically selected small markets to receive support where it is truly needed. In the process, it has realized that each marketplace faces unique problems.

So, each department store branch across the country will pick one traditional market in the community and offer tailored support depending on need. And its president and CEO, Shin Heon, actually visited several markets and communicated with merchants to better understand their problems.

In particular, eight marketplaces have been selected for their strong will to recover. Lotte’s main branch will provide assistance to Yaksu Market, the Jamsil branch to Bangi Market and so on. Starting with eight pilot locations, the assistance program will expand to all 31 branches. On average, the program helps 211 small retailers in each traditional market.

On Tuesday, Shin, store managers of the eight pilot branches and presidents of merchant associations signed an agreement and discussed their plans at Lotte’s main branch in Sogong-dong, central Seoul.

“We plan to make the traditional markets lively and welcoming places by customizing assistance to fit each region’s unique characteristics,” Shin said. “It’s only a small start, but it will expand to all branches in order to fulfill our corporate social responsibility goals.”

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