“I have some free time on my day off, so if I say, ‘Let’s go to the supermarket,’ I always take the day off. “I thought of course it would be open, but when I went there and saw that it was closed, I got angry without even realizing it.”
Mr. Park (33), an office worker living in Busan, is very dissatisfied with the mandatory closure of large supermarkets. It is said that ‘Murphy’s Law’ follows you on your way to the supermarket. Mr. Park said, “Actually, I buy most of the groceries I need through ‘early morning delivery,’” and added, “But when I try to spend some quality time with my family shopping on the weekend, it always ends up being a non-working day, so I don’t know who the regulation is for.”
It has already been 11 years since the introduction of the mandatory closure system for large supermarkets that must close twice a month. Although the purpose is to protect traditional markets, local commercial districts, and small and medium-sized merchants, consumers have continued to complain that “it has no effect in protecting commercial districts and only increases consumer inconvenience.” In particular, as the online delivery market has grown rapidly in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, even small business owners who had been advocating for regulation of large marts are saying that “the purpose of closing large marts has almost disappeared.”
Abolition of mandatory business closure 46%, maintenance 39%
After the revision of the Distribution Industry Development Act in 2012, large supermarkets were subject to various regulations. It must be closed twice a month and cannot be open between midnight and 10 a.m. Online delivery is also prohibited during business closures. No supermarket larger than 3,000 m2 (about 908 pyeong) can be built within a 1km radius of a traditional market.
As a result, many consumers inadvertently visit the supermarket on the weekend but end up wasting their time due to the forced closure. ‘Anyway, Weekend’ commissioned SM C&C’s ‘Tillian Pro’ last month to survey 5,026 men and women in their 20s to 60s, and 60% of respondents answered, “I went to the supermarket but wasted a trip because it was closed due to mandatory closure.” Even though 62% of respondents said, “I remember well when large supermarkets in my area are closed,” there were quite a few people who went to the supermarket without thinking and ended up wasting their time.
The government, ruling party, and local governments are pursuing measures to abolish or reduce mandatory business closures. Last July, President Yoon Seok-yeol mentioned the abolition of mandatory business closures for large supermarkets, saying, “Abolish various ‘killer regulations.’” Afterwards, relevant ministries formed a task force (TF) .) was packed. Local governments are moving their days off from public holidays to weekdays. Daegu Metropolitan City changed the mandatory supermarket closing day from the second and fourth Sundays to Mondays in February, and Cheongju City in North Chungcheong Province also moved it to Wednesdays. The Traditional Market Association and the Supermarket Cooperative, which were considered competitors of large supermarkets, also agreed to change the holiday. This is because they agreed with the idea that “face-to-face commercial areas must be revitalized in a situation where the online delivery market is growing.” This means that the competitive landscape of the distribution industry has completely changed from ‘traditional commercial districts vs. large supermarkets’ to ‘online vs. offline’.
In this survey, 46% of respondents said, ‘Let’s abolish the mandatory closure of large supermarkets’, which was 7% points higher than the response that said ‘Let’s maintain it’ (39%). The ‘I don’t know’ position was 15%. Among respondents who said ‘let’s abolish it’, the most common reason was “It causes great inconvenience to consumers” (54%), followed by “There are many other distribution channels such as online delivery” at 25%, and “It does not help protect local commercial districts” at 21%. occupied.
Mandatory closure beneficiaries include online delivery companies
While large supermarkets were stagnant due to mandatory closures and bans on online delivery, the online distribution market, known as ‘dawn delivery,’ grew explosively. According to the Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy, the proportion of large supermarkets in the domestic distribution industry was 27.8% in 2014, but decreased significantly to 13.3% in the first half of this year. During the same period, the online market increased significantly from 28.4% to 49.8%. Traditional markets, which were expected to revive slightly if large supermarkets were regulated, are also gradually shrinking in scale.
Experts agree that “contrary to the purpose of the regulation of large supermarkets, it actually caused damage to the traditional market, and only online delivery companies benefited.” In the first half of this year, the Korea Chamber of Commerce and Industry asked the opinions of 108메이저놀이터 experts from four distribution and logistics-related academic societies, and 70% responded, “It was a loss to large supermarkets and traditional markets that are subject to protection,” and 77% said, “It had no effect in revitalizing traditional markets.” “He said. Only 13% responded that “it was beneficial to the traditional market.” As for the industry that benefited from the regulation of large supermarkets, 58% of experts chose online shopping. A whopping 83% said, “Regulations related to large supermarkets should be abolished or relaxed.”
Accordingly, large marts and small and medium-sized merchants agreed to lift regulations related to large marts to revive face-to-face commerce, but this was blocked by opposition from the Democratic Party of Korea, the major opposition party. At the end of last year, after two years of consultation between the government, large marts, supermarkets, and small and medium-sized merchants, a win-win agreement was reached in which large marts were allowed to use closed days and early morning online delivery, and instead, large marts supported the modernization of logistics facilities and marketing of small and medium-sized merchants. concluded. However, at a subcommittee meeting of the National Assembly Trade, Industry and Energy Committee last month, the Democratic Party opposed easing regulations for a win-win agreement, saying, “Alleyway commercial districts may suffer damage.”
The supermarket union is also protesting against the government’s abolition of mandatory closures and changes to local governments’ mandatory closure dates. The idea is to guarantee supermarket workers’ time off through mandatory closure. In this survey, 38% of respondents who said mandatory closures should be maintained cited “guaranteeing holidays for supermarket workers” as the reason. 33% of respondents said that local commercial districts should be protected, and 29% of respondents said that there was no significant inconvenience with the current system.
Eunhee Lee, a professor of consumer studies at Inha University, said, “Online delivery with good price competitiveness has already overwhelmed large marts, and the performance of large marts is worsening as households become smaller. “We are in a situation where we need to think about the survival of large supermarkets more than employee holidays,” he said. “We need to ease consumer inconvenience by lifting various regulations, such as mandatory business closures and bans on online delivery, and utilize the competitiveness of large supermarkets that have the know-how to maintain freshness.”