Emart tries a third No Brand experiment

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Emart tries a third No Brand experiment

Emart’s third collaborative No Brand store with local merchants opened Monday in Anseong, Gyeonggi - this time, inside the neighborhood’s supermarket.

The discount chain rented 30 percent of Fine Mart, a supermarket of 2,314 square meters on the first basement level of Anseong Machum Market. Next to its No Brand store, Emart built a children’s playground and cafe to attract younger consumers and families.

In its two previous projects, No Brand stores were established as stand-alone shops in traditional markets. The third, which included the local supermarket in discussion beforehand, called for more agreements on the product categories that the No Brand store would sell.

Apart from fresh food affiliated with traditional markets, Emart promised to exclude soju, domestic beer and cigarettes from the product list, as they are Fine Mart’s main revenue source. Instead, the store focused on products like industrial goods and daily necessities.

Support for young entrepreneurs at the market was also part of the project at Anseong. The cafe built beside the No Brand store will be run by a cooperative union of young merchants at Anseong Machum Market.

People aged under 39 receive government support when they open businesses in traditional markets. Before Emart came in, the Anseong Machum Market had five stores that received such subsidies.

However, five new stores run by young entrepreneurs launched here on Monday in line with the No Brand store’s opening - all of which received financial support from Emart to start the business.

“We’re positive the No Brand store, playground and the trendy shops run by young owners will draw more consumers in their 20s and 30s to the traditional market,” said the company.

Emart started the No Brand experiment with local merchants last August as a way to counter criticism that No Brand brick-and-mortar stores would threaten smaller markets.

The strategy was to establish a store inside traditional markets, but adjust the type of products sold so that No Brand would offer a wider arrange of goods to customers visiting the market without eating into local merchants’ sales. Additionally, Emart added facilities like the playground to attract younger customers to the traditional markets. All of the traditional markets that Emart worked with were losing business.

The store at Dangjin’s fish market in South Chungcheong saw customers increase 40 percent compared to before. The second collaborative No Brand store in Seonsan Bongwhang Market in Gumi, North Gyeongsang, is receiving an average of 300 customers per day.

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