The largest-ever number of Korean discount mega-retailers and mid-sized grocery chains shut their doors on Sunday as part of the nation’s new policy to help small, individually owned marts.
Over 70 percent of such large marts throughout the nation took forced days off on the second Sunday of June. A total of 98 out of 143 E-Mart stores nationwide, 104 out of 129 Home Plus stores and 304 of 430 Lotte Marts were closed.
For the three leading discount chains, about 72.5 percent of their stores nationwide were closed. Compared to the fourth Sunday of May when 215 stores closed up shop, 47 more stores were shut down last week as more local governments participated in the mandatory two-day-off policy.
In Seoul, only stores in Gangnam-gu, Yongsan-gu and Dongjak-gu stayed open. All seven Costco Wholesale Korea stores were closed as well.
Over 70 percent of stores of the four major small and mid-sized grocery chains run by retail giants ― Lotte Super, Home Plus Express, GS Supermarket and E-Mart Everyday ― also shut down Sunday.
A total of 304 out of 430 Lotte Super stores; 237 out of 315 Home Plus Express stores; 159 out of 239 GS Supermarket stores and 66 out of 100 E-Mart Everyday stores closed. The number increased by about 13 percent from the prior weekend when 57.6 percent took the day off.
Some regions decided to close marts on different days. Seosan City in South Chungcheong Province, for example, makes discount stores close on the second and fourth Saturdays; Seongju-gun in North Gyeongsang Province on every 2nd and 17th day of the month; Jeju Island on every second Friday and fourth Saturday.
Some discount stores categorized as a part of a shopping complex like E-Mart Garden Five in Songpa-gu, southeastern Seoul, E-Mart Bucheon in Seongnam City, Gyeonggi Province or Home Plus Gangneung stayed open. Hanaro Mart, where the sales of agricultural and livestock products take up more than 51 percent of the sales, did not have to close down either.
For upcoming weekends, shoppers can find out the stores’ off-day schedules by reaching E-Mart at (02)380-5678, Home Plus and Home Plus Express at (02)3459-8000, Lotte Mart at (02)2145-8000, Lotte Super at 1688-9600, GS Supermarket at 080-345-7700 and E-Mart everyday by visiting the website www.emarteveryday.co.kr.
By Park Min-young (email@example.com