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'Just heading to the convenience store to grab some... gold'

June 4, 2024 - 17:29 By Song Seung-hyun
Gold products sold at local convenience store chain CU (BGF Retail)

Convenience stores in South Korea these days are in a league of their own. Along with everyday essentials and quick bites, they also sell fried chicken, fresh fruit, liquor and some expensive items like smartwatches, tires and even cars. Now, they are selling the sought-after safe-haven asset for investors: gold.

Retail industry insiders attribute convenience stores’ rise as a place to buy gold to their accessibility and trustworthiness the nationwide retail franchises have established as safe places for avoiding fraud.

According to convenience store chain CU, sales of its credit card-shaped gold products have so far surpassed 100 million won ($72,000). The products, launched in April, are produced by the state-run Korea Minting, Security Printing & ID Card Operating Corporation and come in three weights: 0.5 gram, 1 gram and 1.87 grams.

Just two days after it came out, the 1-gram product sold out, followed by the 1.87-gram product, which sold out in 15 days.

“There has been a noticeable increase in gold purchases among young consumers at convenience stores," an official from BGF Retail, the operator of CU, said. "We will continue to introduce various gold products suitable for small investments to enhance customer satisfaction."

Another convenience store chain, GS25, reported that its sales of gold products, including gold bars and necklaces, surpassed 100 million won in May.

Since September 2022, GS Retail has been selling gold products at 14 different GS25 convenience stores and 16 GS The Fresh supermarkets, with total sales exceeding 4 billion won.

Data from GS25 also shows that people in their 30s accounted for 42.1 percent of gold purchases at its stores, followed by people in their 40s who accounted for 28.1 percent.

Convenience store chain 7-Eleven has also seen success selling gold products periodically during Seollal, Chuseok and the month of May.

According to 7-Eleven, sales of their three gold products -- including a 1 "don" (3.75 grams) gold bar -- doubled in May.

Credit card-shaped gold bars and gold necklaces are sold at local GS25 convenience stores. (GS25)