According to this article that is what it sounds like due to the various regulations put on big box stores in South Korea to protect local mom and pop shops:
SEOUL (Reuters) – Tesco Plc finally managed to open a near-3,000 sq metre super store in South Korea, its largest market outside Britain, after a seven-month delay by agreeing not to stock 15 items including radishes, mangoes and some cuts of local beef.
Big-box retailers in South Korea such as Tesco and Costco Wholesale Corp are reluctantly bowing to government demands aimed at protecting local merchants — including plans to fine the super stores if they set up without the consent of nearby local merchants.
There are signs that Seoul’s new restrictions could scare off investors.
“In my view, there is no longer much merit in investing in the South Korean market. Investment from (Tesco) headquarters will decrease,” said Lee Seung-han, chairman of the Homeplus Group, Tesco’s subsidiary in Korea.
Not long after signing free trade agreements with the European Union and the United States which reduced the shelf price of products from fruit to wine, the South Korean government last year started tightening controls on hypermarket operators.
New rules forbid big-box retailers from operating two Sundays a month, while a further measure banning them from opening an outlet near a marketplace with rows of mom-and-pop vendors will come into effect this month.
Homeplus’ Lee Seung-han said Tesco was not considering leaving, but acknowledged that regulation and market saturation have dimmed the prospect of new investment after entering the South Korean market in 1999.
Tesco, the world’s third-largest retailer, reports full-year results on Wednesday, and analysts expect revenues from its Korea operations will fall due to the government’s restrictions. [Reuters]
You can read much more at the link, but I tend to think the new regulations are good because it keeps these mom and pop shops from closing. Many of these shops are owned by older Koreans who would have a difficult time finding another job due to their age. The regulations allow them to continue to make a living while not depriving the big box stores from staying open, they are just making slightly less in profits.