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South Korean discount warehouses prosper during pandemic

Unlike shopping malls struggling in the aftermath of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, discount warehouses are seeing continuous growth.

E-Mart Traders, a major discount warehouse chain, saw sales jump by 21.9 per cent year on year from January to May.

The Club, an online mall run by South Korean hypermarket-chain operator Homeplus Co’s discount warehouse Special, saw its sales in June jump by 344 per cent in the 11 months since it first opened last July.

Experts argue that the western style of consumption that is spreading throughout South Korea has driven the popularity of discount warehouses, in which people bring their cars to stock up on food in boxes, rather than making use of plastic bags.

More storage space thanks to larger refrigerators has also become an incentive to buy food in bulk.

Moreover, products available at discount warehouses often come at more affordable prices, with quality more or less equivalent to shopping mall offerings.

Focusing on fresh food products also worked as an advantage for discount warehouses as the coronavirus outbreak has prompted more people to cook at home.

Last year, the proportion of fresh food products among overall sales at E-Mart Traders was 41 percent. Now, it has grown to 43 per cent.

Originally published by Korea Bizwire

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