More stores being closed as virus crisis continues
Discount chains are shutting down branches as their sales dip from the Covid-19 crisis.
Lotte Shopping, operator of Lotte Mart stores, announced Friday it is shutting down stores in Guro District, western Seoul, and at an Icheon expressway rest area in Gyeonggi. Its big-box store Big Market in Dobong District, northern Seoul, is also shutting down.
Lotte Shopping explained Friday how staff will be reassigned from those branches and a compensation plan for store owners who rent space inside the branches.
The branches in Guro and Dobong will operate until Nov. 30, while the one in the expressway rest area will wrap up business on Sept. 30.
Lotte Shopping, which also operates Lotte Department Stores and Lotte Hi-Marts, had earlier announced it would close 16 Lotte Mart branches by the end of this year, as brick-and-mortar sales continue to remain sluggish due to the coronavirus crisis.
Lotte Shopping has 700 branches in Korea.
Homeplus announced on Thursday it is closing its branch in Daejeon, the third closure announced this year. The other two stores are in Ansan, Gyeonggi, and another branch in Daejeon.
“As extreme business uncertainties continue, Homeplus decided to secure liquidity [through selling] three of its branches,” wrote Homeplus in a statement. It highlighted that no layoffs will take place as a result of the shutdown.
All three Homeplus branches will operate to the end of this year. Details of their closings will be released next year.
Homeplus's sales in 2019 declined 4.69 percent on year to 7.3 trillion won ($6.14 billion), while its net loss expanded 300 percent from 132.7 billion won to 532.2 billion won.
Lotte Shopping's sales declined 8.77 percent in the first half of this year compared to the same period last year to 8.12 trillion won. It reported a 242.31 billion won net loss in that period, compared to a 186.06 billion won net profit during the same period a year earlier.
BY JIN MIN-JI [firstname.lastname@example.org]