South Korean convenience store openings drop

South Korean convenience store openings in South Korea fell last year, according to industry data.

Thought to be the effect of increasing labour costs and market saturation, the slowdown has manifested amongst several industry operators – including BGF Retail’s CU, which opened 980 fewer stores than the previous year’s total of 1646; and GS25, which opened 1023 fewer stores last year after launching 1701 outlets in 2017.

A government advisory to chain stores to maintain more of a distance between competing branches signals a likely continuation of the downward trend, as well as new laws mandating higher levels of paid leave to staff and a higher minimum wage. The same pressures have seen 19 per cent of convenience stores closing at night rather than operate 24 hours, compared with 10 per cent in 2017.

A statement issued by CU said that the firm is prioritising profitability of existing stores over opening new locations.

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