Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Quick E Marts of Korea, unite!

The Korea Association of Convenience Stores, which includes Mini Stop, Buy the Way, Family Mart and GS25, revealed that convenience stores are becoming more popular, and that, according to the Joongang Ilbo, "More new convenience stores opened in Korea last year than ever before". I've corrected the next sentence below:
The number of stores jumped 12.9 percent to [2,209] in 2008, compared with growth of 11.4 percent to [1,429 stores] in 2007. There were 12,485 convenience stores across the country at the end of 2008, which meant there was at least one branch for every 4,000 people. Overall sales also increased last year, to 6.5 trillion won ($5.2 billion), a 16.7 percent jump from 2007.

The association credited the rise in the number of branches to corporate layoffs in recent years, which left more businesspeople ready to start their own franchises.
This is interesting:
The percentage of store managers who were female rose 0.8 percentage point last year from 2007, bringing women up to 43.9 percent of all convenience store heads. Ten years ago, only 15 percent of store managers were female, while in 2003 that figure had increased to 27.7 percent.
A 2007 Hankyoreh article reveals looked at other aspects of this trend:
Every day for the last four years, eight mom-and-pop stores have disappeared from the streets of South Korea, and six new bars have been set up.

According to data announced by the National Statistical Office (NSO) on June 21, about 11,000 small stores closed during the four years from 2001. As a result, the number of such small, family-run shops declined to 95,967 in 2005 from 107,365 in 2001. In the meantime, the number of big supermarkets and convenience stores increased by 78 and 707, respectively, during the same period.

Many experts say that competition from such large-scale retailers have continually put the squeeze on smaller businesses, forcing them to close.

The number of bakeries and tea and coffee shops decreased to 32,008 in 2005 from 42,585 in 2001. However, the number of large shops with ten or more employees rose to 409 from 249, showing a 64-percent growth. However, such a situation has happened mainly due to an increase of chain coffee shops, such as Starbucks.

It might be worth noting that it was only in 1993 that the first Emart opened and traditional markets began to lose their popularity.


Brian said...

Nice use of Pittsburgh media there.

matt said...

Thought you'd like that.

kushibo said...

Ah, I remember when the KT and the KH were full of articles by English teacher types admonishing people to frequent their local mom-and-pop shop instead of the Family Mart or the Buy the Way, lest the family-run business become a dying breed. This was before Canadians invented drug-addled E2 English teachers, which would later become filler for the KT and KH. Good times.

By the way, that Walmart-related article was great and I might even write up a post mortem on Walmart to go along with stuff I've written about Carrefour. Frankly, I'm not at all sad to see Walmart go, but I was disappointed that Carrefour left. Walmart was icky, like their heart wasn't in it and they were daring you to enjoy shopping there; Carrefour was interesting and lively and fit in with the style preferred by the Korean consumer exemplified by E-Mart and LotteMart.

E-Mart is still my favorite, though I probably go to LotteMart more just because it's closer (I live very close to Seoul Station, which has a LotteMart, though the E-Mart at Yongsan Station is also close).