No Brand opens by request at Gyeongdong Market

Emart’s new No Brand store in Gyeongdong Market in Seoul’s Dongdaemun district is its first collaboration with a traditional market in the capital.

Like the four other No Brand discount stores inside traditional markets, the shop is not selling fresh fruit. This follows a month of discussions with local merchants on the list of products it will stock. Most items are novelties or processed food made by Emart’s house brand.

The 400sqm store is on the second floor of one of the market’s three buildings. Further back on the same floor is a resting area and children’s playground where parents can leave their children for two hours while shopping, with a discounted fee for those who present receipts from the market.

The Gyeongdong No Brand store also has a coffee shop, Cafe Sup (“forest”). Starbucks Korea, a Shinsegae affiliate like Emart, has designed the interior and will send its baristas to train the cafe staff. Meanwhile, the Dongdaemun district office has donated 2000 books to a library next to the cafe.

“Businesses here weren’t doing so bad until a few years back, when sales suddenly dropped,” says Gyeongdong Market’s merchant association head Oh Gwang-soo. “Our merchants and I visited No Brand’s collaboration sites and saw that they were actually effective in pulling in younger customers.”

In July, the market asked No Brand to open a store.

Opening in 1960, Gyeongdong Market is one of South Korea’s largest traditional marketplaces for medicinal roots, especially ginseng.

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