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Society & Global
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확대축소프린트
 안혜란
A New Law Revised for Small Stores And Traditional Markets
제 133 호    발행일 : 2012.05.26 

The Distribution Industry Development Law was amended to protect traditional markets and small businesses. Thus, major discount stores such as Emart, Homeplus, Lottemart and other Super Supermarkets(SSM) have to be shut down for a day or two each month. Furthermore, local governments can limit business hours of discount stores and other SSMs from midnight to 8 a.m. If they break the law, they will be fined 10 million won for one time and be subject to a maximum of 30 million won fine for more than three times.
Kim Ae-hwa, who works in the women's wear department of Lottemart(Cheongju branch), said, “Our store is suffering a great loss because a new law prohibits the store from opening every second and fourth Sunday of a month. I think the discount stores’ suspension of business can be of little benefit to the development of the local economy. However, most consumers will go to other stores which are open because traditional markets are uncomfortable due to a lack of parking spaces.” And she added, “While other discount stores are closed, Hanaro-mart is not eligible for the new law because of the ‘Stores which sell more than 51% agricultural products   among their products are excluded from the restriction’ clause. Therefore, I doubt whether this law is effective.” Lee Hye-jin, who works part-time in Emart(Cheongju branch), will quit her work soon because of the new law. She said, “I didn't expect that I would be damaged by the government’s policy. I can work on the weekends because I go to school during weekdays. An Emart staff member said to me, “You have to work on weekdays to supplement your working hours.” I have to quit my part-time job. I respect the meaning of the policy, but this policy is only a temporary solution.” She expressed dissatisfaction about the policy.
When the discount markets were closed for the first time, Emart recorded that 3,500 walking customers and 2,500 vehicles which visited Emart’s 5 stores(Myeongil, Cheonho, Gayang, Gonghang, Mia) had to turn back.
Yu Mi-hyeon, who visits a discount store two or three times a week, said about the policy, “I think the closure of discount stores is of assistance to the local economy. Therefore, if a new policy is merely the closure of discount markets, this policy will probably meet little success. For the policy to succeed, the government should provide financial support for traditional markets. If they have price competitiveness and equip conveniences and parking spaces, more people will visit the markets.” Jeong Seon-yeong, who is a Cheonan citizen, said, “To revive traditional markets and retail stores, I think it is more effective to stress their advantages than to remove competitors. Whereas a discount market’s merit is its convenience, the traditional market’s charm is its goodwill. The traditional market’s merchants throw in a few more products to purchasers. I think people go to traditional markets because of this goodwill. When they attract people by using this way, the traditional market will be able to be revived.”
Many people are now questioning whether the closure of large discount stores will be able to revive the local economy. However, 450 retail stores and traditional markets’ average sales grew 13.9%, and customers increased 13.1%. In addition, some parts of traditional markets make a ‘Sale Day’ when discount stores are closed for the day. The market’s merchants give a 10~50% discount off the list price. Furthermore, many events such as door-prizes and interactive events are held to lure customers. In this situation, people must wait and see how effective this policy will be.

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