ROK Drop

Avatar of GI KoreaBy on November 19th, 2012 at 6:26 am

Large Retailers In Korea Can Now Be Closed for Up To 3 Days A Month

Here is an update on the government’s efforts to curb the hours of operations of mega-stores in Korea in order to save traditional and small family markets from closure:

The revision bill of the Distribution Industry Development Act was passed by the Knowledge Economy Committee of the National Assembly on Nov. 16. According to the bill, the compulsory closing day for super supermarkets can be extended to three days a month at maximum and the limitations on business hours can be increased by four hours over existing limitations. The Distribution Industry Development Act, considered a primary bill related to economic democratization, will now go to the plenary session of the National Assembly in a greatly strengthened form.
The revised bill decided on by the Knowledge Economy Committee expanded the current compulsory closing day for big-box retailers, or super supermarkets (SSMs), of “more than one day but no more than two days a month” to “more than one day but less than three days a month.” The obligatory cessation of business from midnight to 8 a.m. may be increased to 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.  [Hankyoreh]

You can read the rest at the link, but I can’t help but imagine what the fight would be like if some politicians in the US try to limit the hours of the big box stores like Wal-Mart in an effort to help small business owners?

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  • Dr.Yu
    7:06 am on November 19th, 2012 1

    I support the initiative. We already lost our middle and small companies to other countries like china, if we loose our middle and small stores it will a social desastre … Korea has to stick with it´s comunitarian capitalism for the sake of korean future …

  • Eddie Cantor
    3:05 pm on November 19th, 2012 2

    Dr. Yu, you are thinking with your heart and not your brain on this issue.

    The larger stores are more popular because they offer lower prices and better customer service. Customer service at the smaller stores isn’t just bad- it’s atrocious bordering on uncivil. That’s not just coming from “evil waygookin” but from the flood of younger Koreans who are sick of how they are treated by smaller stores. And, yes, good customer service costs nothing.

    The “farmer’s market” system worked decades ago when everyone in towns knew each other. Now, Korean live in towns that are basically suburbia but with apartments instead of houses. The smaller stores didn’t improve or adapt so they have lost customers. Instead of trying to improve or adapt they demanded that the government punish large stores. The government doesn’t care about fixing the long-term problems and, instead, is just trying to placate the smaller store owners who hold some political power.

    So, now, the Korean government thinks the “best way” to “correct” the system is to punish the larger stores for doing a good job with knowing what customers want and need. But the customers are also being punished because the store closings mean inconvenienced customers who would regularly shop on Sunday.

    But large stores also sell products that are supplied by smaller companies and farms. What about them? Where will they sell their products? Many farm products are short dated and must be sold immediately. No thought has been given to them and their problems with forced closings.

    Studies are now showing that the closing laws adversely affect the overall economy because they limit and inconvenience consumer choices and harm smaller suppliers. This is from today’s newspaper-|home|newslist2

    One last thing to mention is how little thought has been given by the Korean government about how Koreans actually shop. Odds are that if large stores are forced to close on three Sundays each month then consumers will probably shop on the internet,or overseas, if the won continues to increase in value, and not in some dirty, overpriced farmer’s market. If you know anything about Koreans then you should understand that eventually there will be a backlash against these stupid laws.

  • Eddie Cantor
    3:09 pm on November 19th, 2012 3|home|newslist2

    Revised law on big stores could hurt farmers too
    Nov 20,2012 After the National Assembly revised a law strengthening regulation of large retailers including discount chains and super supermarkets (SSM), concerns are rising it could severely dent the retail sector as a whole, hurting farmers and small suppliers.

    According to retail industry analysts yesterday, the size of the entire domestic retail market will shrink by 8 trillion won ($7.36 billion) and agricultural and marine producers will lose business worth 1.56 trillion won if the revised Distribution Industry Development Act takes effect.

    The Korea Chainstores Association (KOCA) estimated that large discount chains will lose business worth 6.98 trillion won and SSMs [small- and medium-sized enterprises] will lose 862 billion won if they are forced to limit their operating hours and close their doors three days a month.

    Farmers and marine producer will lose 1.25 trillion won in business from discount chains and 318.3 billion won from SSMs, KOCA projected.

    “Restrictions of the operations of large retailers that provide stable sales channels to domestic agricultural produce, especially on weekends when the sales are large, will directly harm farmers,” said an official from the KOCA.

    Currently, agricultural and marine products account for 39 to 42 percent of sales at SSMs, and 20 to 26 percent at large discount chains.

    The agricultural industry also complained that the including of Nonghyup Hanaro Mart, a national retailer of agricultural produce, as a discount chain would cause them losses.

    The retail industry also said the new regulations would deprive consumers of the right to choose between stores, cause confusion and mean fewer jobs in the retail outlets.

    The revised Distribution Industry Development Act, which was submitted by the Knowledge Economy Committee and passed by the National Assembly, included small stores inside department stores and shopping centers as a target of regulation.

  • Eddie Cantor
    3:15 pm on November 19th, 2012 4

    One last thing that has been lost in all of this is that the larger stores also have large sales to customers visiting from Japan and China. Forcing them to close means lost sales to tourists and that’s big money from customers who were never going to shop at some back alley farmer’s markets.

  • tbonetylr
    4:56 pm on November 19th, 2012 5

    “…but I can’t help but imagine what the fight would be like if some politicians in the US try to limit the hours of the big box stores like Wal-Mart in an effort to help small business owners?”

    Especially without knowing for sure the closings will actually help. No studies/stats/research has been done to show what they “think” is actually true. The move for “closings” is only a political one.

    # 1,
    Are you serious? Please show us some data on how much the closings are expected to help the little guy so we can compare it to comments #2 & 3. You’ve been suckered into believing the politics behind this move.

  • redwhitedude
    5:32 pm on November 19th, 2012 6

    This law is silly. It won’t have the expected effect. If they really want to take this approach it would be best to shut them down for far longer but that would be antibusiness. It’s a stupid attempt to save small mom and pop retailers. They really should do away with this law. The best way is for the small businesses to specialize in something that big retailers cannot provide.

  • SmokingFreedomGuy
    12:17 am on November 20th, 2012 7

    Big government always looking out for what’s fair, usually just ends up fairly f’ing us all.

    I don’t like going to the small markets and mop/pop stores here because they’re usually filthy and I don’t trust the quality of the products.

    As for GI’s comment about (some politicians in the US try to limit the hours) just give it time, they are already limiting the sizes you can order as well as other things.

    Big gov’s excuse: More security and fairness!
    The reailty: Less freedom and quality.

  • Stephen
    12:56 am on November 20th, 2012 8

    It’s very tiresome. Homeplus used to have 24 hour shopping in Busan (next to the baseball stadium) and Daejeon (next to the bus station), all killed by Lee Myung-bak.

  • Avatar of GI KoreaGI Korea
    7:08 am on November 20th, 2012 9

    @7 – That is why I made the comment because of the way Wal-Mart has been demonized over the years how long before someone gets the idea to limit their hours? I tend to think this is an issue that should be handled locally. If a local government wants to have a referendum where people vote on a city ordinance limiting the hours of mega-retailers then I really would not have a problem with it.

  • Angus
    10:13 am on November 20th, 2012 10

    This is a exercise in futility. It will not save the mom and pop stores for the simple reason that the hyper-markets offer the consumer advantages small stores can’t or won’t. Parking, large quantities, selection, etc. Furthermore forcing HomePlus or Costco to shut on Sundays will simply mean that Saturday is busier than ever and the outdated corner store will continue to wilt. Pointless.

  • Dr.Yu
    2:28 pm on November 20th, 2012 11


    Do I have to bring numbers, charts, reports, etc to post my comments here?

    You guys are missing the point here: it doesn’t matter if the big retailers or some farmers will profit less, because the objective of this initiative is to protect the living of small business owners in Korea. If these people lose their living it will be a social disaster with more people depending on government welfare system to support their lives. It’s the government´s duty to guaranty the minimum living condition of its citizens and this measure is just addressing this point.

    Some people will profit less? No problem, life goes on, and they will find another way to keep profiting, they always do; small business goes bankrupt all over the country? Than we have a serious problem here …. Just look at how western countries allowed the jobs of their people be shipped to other countries …. they had to burden their social welfare system with more people to feed.

    If you had make the homework and study the Korean economic development, than you would have learn that it was based on a social commitment between government, industries and citizens, with the government assuming the role of the leader, pointing the economic and political directions of the nation, the industries following the instruction given by the government and the citizens supporting their government and industry to achieve the national project which was the development of their nation.

    This is what is called communitarian capitalism and is the secret behind Korean economic miracle and even today this principle is applied in Korea. So there is nothing wrong with damaging the profit of some corporations in order to protect the living of thousand people, and thus protecting the prosperity of the nation, instead of the profit of some restricted people.

    You don´t agree with this policy? No problem, it’s a Korean thing, just like liberalism and social welfare system is a western thing … You don´t have to like or dislike it, just accept that things in Korea works this way …. and had worked very well until now …

    You see … it´s simple and objective, and no numbers, chart, reports or whatever, were necessary to give you this simple lesson of social and economic development …

  • Setnaffa
    3:58 pm on November 20th, 2012 12

    Government isn’t the solution… Government is the problem…

    The folks who complain about “unrestrained” Capitalism never complain about “Mercantilism” or “crony capitalism”. The Railroad Empires and Big Steel were never the result of “unrestrained” Capitalism, they were the inevitable result of crooked politicians with a hand in the till sending out contracts to their friends for massive bribes and kickbacks.

    A level playing field is the best way. And frankly, E-Mart could make a HUGE pile of friends by selling their stuff to folks through the mom-and-pop marts. With their tremendous buying power, they could sell to the little guys for less than they’re likely paying their distributors THROUGH THE SAME DISTRIBUTORS and still make a profit.

    Of course, I’d only give a flying hoot if it got the guy who stands right outside the darn door and smokes like a chimney to move somewhere else… :mrgreen:

  • johnhenry
    8:22 am on November 21st, 2012 13

    Thanks to this asinine and very pandering law, I absolutely refuse to patronize any “mom and pop” store while I’m in Korea. It’d be great if very many more would do the same. The loss of business isn’t the fault of the “big box” stores, it’s the small store’s very own fault for the reasons listed in a few posts above. The law also is not very solid, constitutionally. When it’s finally overturned, how much do you think the big box stores are going to sue for in damages?

  • Dr.Yu
    9:26 am on November 21st, 2012 14

    If policies like this would have been applied in the USA, less young “English teachers” would be coming to countries like Korea to make their livings ….. Gentlemen, please try to look beyond your own nose and see the big picture, because you are within it ……. :shock:

  • Setnaffa
    1:39 pm on November 21st, 2012 15

    Dr. Yu, are you Tom’s commie boyfriend? :mrgreen:

    “If policies like this would have been applied in the USA, less young “English teachers” would be coming to countries like Korea to make their livings” because we would not have had the freedom to do so…

  • Ifindthisinteresting
    2:14 pm on November 21st, 2012 16

    If policies like this would have been applied in Korea, less Koreans would be coming to countries like the USA to make their living because we would not have had the freedom to do so…

  • Setnaffa
    3:16 pm on November 21st, 2012 17

    #16, you got that backwards. If they were applied in the USA, Koreans would not have wanted to come to America…

  • Dr.Yu
    4:45 pm on November 21st, 2012 18

    Great, now I’m a communist because dared to speak against utter profit …. than Jesus was a damn communist too, because he dared to preach against profit, so ….. Fuc* you Jesus!!! your damn communist, right? :lol:
    Capitalist propaganda must be part of school curriculum in the USA …
    This thing bring me to memory a very revealing experience I had about westerners (gringos): I was in a group with koreans and gringos together, and some gringos reacted with horror and shock after learning that we Koreans used to share a lot of thing between us like food, clothes, personal stuffs etc … they were looking at us like we were aliens or something apart from the human species ….
    It´s hard for them to believe that not all people in the world think and behave like them ….

  • Setnaffa
    9:29 pm on November 21st, 2012 19

    Yu, you’re shooting wildly now. Write back when you’re sober.

    And read Animal Farm again. Don’t try to emulate Squealer. You’re not cut out for that.

    Jesus was a communist? Perhaps you can quote chapter and verse where he agreed that “religion is the opiate of the masses” and the state should be worshiped? Sorry, you must have been sniffing glue to come up with that one.

    Government is not compassion. Robbing workers to pay for non-workers is just an illegitimate abuse of power that saps productivity and economic vitality. Look at how well it worked in the late USSR, the current DPRK, PRC, etc. Look at how it has all but destroyed the USA (don’t worry, Obama has four more years to finish the job).

    Charity is from the heart, not the point of a gun. And when Government attempts it, the results are invariably destructive to the society as a whole. And to those private charities that actually try to help people instead of merely creating ever larger bureaucracies…

    Read a dang history book for goodness sake. You’re shaming yourself.

  • Setnaffa
    9:35 pm on November 21st, 2012 20

    BTW, the term “gr*ngo” is as offensive as n*gger, k*ke, w0p, sp*c, w0g, and any number of other racist slogans commonly used by leftists of a certain stripe to dehumanize, divide, and conquer. Calling rich farmers “kulaks” was how Stalin played it…

    Glad to see Yu is true to form…

  • Bobby Ray
    9:55 pm on November 21st, 2012 21

    Setnaffa you done said it like it is. Im darn tired of the government robbing hard workers to pay for them folks that dont want no kind of job which buys votes for the very people that rob the workers. Its a big ugly cycle.

    I do have a quote like you asked for. Its from Acts 2.

    44 And all that believed were together, and had all things in common;
    45 And sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all men, as every man had need.

    That there sound pretty commie to me. I aint saying Jesus was a commie but he and that Marx fellow sure had some ideas in common about the good of the people and all.

    Anyhoo you all need to back off of this here Dr Yu fellow. He aint wrong exactly. In America they give that welfare to people who dont want no kind of job. They just give it away and let them spend it on them Chinese flatscreens and Mexican drugs while they sit on their behinds and get fat on convenience store food.

    In Korea this here policy is kinda like welfare keeping them old people’s head above water. But instead of giving it away they make them old people work in markets and shops. Now that policy of closing them big stores to support this welfare program aint ideal but I sure would take it over the American style where they just give it away to them folks that scream about their entitlements and crop themselves up a whole new generation of kids who learn early how to scream about their entitlements while the devil does lots of his work through their idle hands. They need to make them people walk the streets and pick up trash and scrub the graffiti off bridges and such to get them welfare checks even if that takes away from the private companies that get paid to do that kind of thing.

    So when you all look at it that way, whats better afterall?

  • Stephen
    10:22 pm on November 21st, 2012 22

    Bobby Ray
    9:55 pm on November 21st, 2012

    … they make them old people work in markets and shops.

    I don’t know if you’ve noticed but Homeplus, Emart and Costo employ a whole host of ajumma.

    The difference is that in the Homeplus-Emart-Costco food hall and supermarkets there ain’t them ajeossi seated at the till collecten money n’ leechen offa them thar ajumma while the ajumma do all that cooken, cleanen and serven … like in them thar old stylee restaurants and market shops.

  • Bobby Ray
    11:44 pm on November 21st, 2012 23

    Stephen you make a fine point there and there aint no arguing with it.

    I dont rightly know but best I can tell them big time stores wring more efficiency from their workers meaning they sell a lot more stuff with fewer workers than them ma and pa stores. Them big stores also pay that sustenance wage them economics books talk about. Now like them books said, this here is economic progress in full on capitalism and I aint arguing with it.

    But I aint looking at it from the point of vulture capitalism where them stockholders of them big stores are making lots of money just cause they figured a new way to get fewer ajumas running around harder for less pay.

    Im looking at it from the view that supporting a lot of these little businesses through lax tax enforcement or lax inspections or unbalancing the playing field just a tad in their favor is better social policy for a de facto welfare system than the For Free mentality that is sweepin the United States as fast as them people can get away from their TVs and line up for them welfare checks.

    Them little shops and little store and little restaurants are just a generation away from being gone anyway. This here policy is just a part of the managed decline as them old folks retire and die off slowly instead of letting (or helping) small business fail and then having to put them all on welfare like they is doing in America.

    I will say again this here policy aint the best but it aint nearly as bad as some others.

  • Stephen
    11:54 pm on November 21st, 2012 24

    Well ah rightly agree with your reaznen there Bobby Ray. Keep them mom and pop stores … but make them pops hustle cooken, cleanen, washen and serven, ‘stead of leaven it all up to them ajumma.

  • Glans
    5:40 am on November 22nd, 2012 25

    Bobby Ray, the “Acts of the Apostles” describes the time after the death of Jesus. I can’t think of any comments by Jesus on capitalism or socialism. He did tell his followers to pay Roman taxes, though.

    “Render unto Caesar…” is the beginning of a phrase attributed to Jesus in the synoptic gospels, which reads in full, “Render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s, and unto God the things that are God’s” (Ἀπόδοτε οὖν τὰ Καίσαρος Καίσαρι καὶ τὰ τοῦ Θεοῦ τῷ Θεῷ Matthew 22:21).

    That’s at Wikipedia.

  • David
    1:40 am on July 7th, 2014 26

    Does anyone know if there is a similar law in the US or other western countries?

    I feel like Korea couldn’t possibly be the only country with such law.

  • Todd
    6:59 am on July 7th, 2014 27

    I wonder how the US public would react if Walmarts were forced to close 3 days a month. They would probably be for Walmarts to stay open 24/7.


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