SEOUL, Sept. 23 (Korea Bizwire) — South Korean shopping mall operators are paying attention to the National Assembly’s upcoming decision on a new legislative bill during the regular session that starts on Thursday.
The ruling party is currently pushing for stricter regulations that would require large-sized malls, so-called super supermarkets (SSMs), and shopping complexes to close every second Sunday.
Experts argue, however, that this type of legislation will only work as an inconvenience for consumers without any visible benefits for street vendors since a significant portion of the market has moved on to online platforms.
Regulating strictly offline stores will fall short of helping small businesses, they say.
The rise of e-commerce, led by early morning delivery services, has been increasingly sidelining offline distribution platforms.
Emart Inc., a major South Korean offline retailer, recorded a deficit of 29.9 billion won (US$25 million) in the second quarter for the first time since its establishment, while Lotte Mart recorded a loss of 39.9 billion won.
Shopping complexes, while legally defined as shopping malls, are also spaces for culture and dining.
Forcing restrictions on people’s leisure is a backward move in the current era, experts say, calling for an additional round of discussions to reconsider the new environments that shopping malls are currently placed in.
H. M. Kang (firstname.lastname@example.org)