7-Eleven offers dropoff for your dirty laundry

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7-Eleven offers dropoff for your dirty laundry

Convenience chain 7-Eleven launched a test-run for laundry services at one of its stores in Yongsan District, central Seoul, on Wednesday.

Customers can drop off laundry and payments to an unmanned machine in the middle of the store.

Dropping off and collecting is possible at any time of the day, as the machine will accept clothes 24 hours throughout the year.

Once the submitted clothes are cleaned, the customer will receive a text message. The machine will return the clean clothes to customers in an average of two days. Customers can order services on touch screens by selecting which item they are dropping off.

The machine can accept not only shirts or blouses, but suits, jumpers, coats and sneakers that require dry cleaning and are generally harder to clean at home.

Pricing differs according to item with shirts at 990 won (85 cents), sneakers 3,500 won and suits 5,200 won.

The convenience store teamed up with small local company Penguin House, which manufactures unmanned laundry machines like the one installed at 7-Eleven.

The store’s entry into the laundry business perhaps can be explained by the rise in single and two-person households.

Single households made up the largest percentage of households in Korea last year with 27.1 percent of the total and more than four out of 10 married couples worked, according to Statistics Korea.

Unlike bigger families, they frequently don’t have time to visit cleaners that are only open during the day. For the same reason, coin laundries are also gaining popularity. Cleantopia’s coin laundry brand Coin Wash has constantly expanded since launching in 2009 and established its 350th branch in November.

“Services related to living convenience are seeing a constant rise in demand, as people nowadays are generally busier and more of them live alone,” said Lee Woo-ri, manager of the 7-Eleven’s non-food division.

BY SONG KYOUNG-SON [song.kyoungson@joongang.co.kr]
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