Mandatory closures may be working

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Mandatory closures may be working

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The mandatory twice-a-month closure of large discount store chains and super supermarkets (SSMs) seems to be paying off for traditional markets.

Sales at 694 small- and medium-sized owner-operated retail businesses around large discount store chains and super supermarkets and 1,000 mom-and-pop stores in traditional markets increased 9.1 percent on April 28, a mandatory closure day, compared to the previous week, the Agency for Traditional Market Administration reported yesterday.

The government enforces mandatory closure days for large discount stores and SSMs twice a month to revitalize small businesses and limit encroachment by big retailers on small vendors.

The mandatory closure was first adopted by local governments but later spread across the country, and finally, the retail industry development reform bill that enforces the day off passed the National Assembly in December. It was put into practice last month.

The study, conducted by the administration and the Small Enterprise Development Agency, also showed the number of customers was up 8.7 percent.

Stores at traditional markets saw sales jump 11.1 percent and customer traffic rise by 11.3 percent.

Sales on April 28 doubled at Deokpung Market, Songbuk Market in Gyeonggi and Seochang Market in South Gyeongsang.

Some small and medium retailers offered discounts of 10 percent to 30 percent as well as gift certificates, coupons and giveaways.

Among 1,694 small retailers, including vendors at traditional markets, 53.8 percent said the government’s regulation on large retailers is helping their businesses; 23.6 percent said the measure was not helpful.

In particular, sales at small businesses in areas with mandatory closures on the second and fourth Sunday of the month rose 9.1 percent, compared with 5.1 percent for those in other regions with voluntary closure days.

The traditional market agency and Small Enterprise Development Agency provide support to small supermarkets, consulting on how to display products and manage inventory in order to draw more customers to small vendors and traditional markets.

They will also encourage competitiveness via joint branding, purchasing and marketing.

“When the mandatory closure days of large discount store chains and SSMs on two Sundays a month are settled, we expect the number of customers visiting small vendors and traditional markets will steadily increase,” said the Agency for Traditional Market Administration.



By Kim Jung-yoon [kjy@joongang.co.kr]

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