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Management Report

Management reports, briefs issued by Samsung Economic Research Institute

ST·R·O·NG Merchants in Korea's Traditional Market

ST·R·O·NG Merchants in Korea's Traditional Market

LEE Kap-Soo, KIM Sun-Bin, KIM Sang-Bum

Apr. 1, 2013

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Korea's traditional markets have been under constant pressure in the last several years amid the rising presence of large discount, or warehouse, retailers and bulked up supermarkets. In 2012, sales at traditional markets totaled 21.1 trillion won, a 29% decline from 29.8 trillion won in 2006.

Much of the attention on the diminishing competitiveness of traditional markets revolves around the transformation of retail distribution in Korea and shifts in consumer habits. But the actions of small-scale merchants who populate the markets also warrant attention.

In a survey of traditional market customers, 65.1% of the respondents said they would not revisit a traditional market or recommend one because of issues related to the merchants themselves. Among their complaints were a lack of product variety and quality, prices and unfriendly service. Besides improving the infrastructure, efforts are needed to encourage merchants to innovate.

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