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Korea studies regular mandatory closings

Large-scale specialty stores such as Daiso and Ikea may be subject to mandatory closings every two weeks as the South Korean government studies the validity of such a regulation.

Research on the appropriateness of the regulation on large-scale specialty stores will start this month, says the Korea Small Business Institute. It will examine whether the big retailers are hurting small shops, and whether the regular closures are necessary. Requested by the Ministry of SMEs and Startups, the study will determine if the regulation is necessary.

The restriction on such large-scale specialty stores has become the thorniest issue in the retail industry, reports The Korea Times. Large retail outlets such as E-mart, Home Plus and Lotte Mart are subject to restrictions on working hours following a revision of the Distribution Industry Development Act in 2012, aimed at protecting small shops. Local governments adopted ordinances based on the Act, forcing large retail outlets to close on the second and fourth Sunday of each month.

However, critics say it is unfair as only retail outlets are subject to the regulation while shopping malls such as Shinsegae Group’s Starfield and specialty shops like Ikea were exempted.

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