SEOUL—The growth of convenience stores in South Korea is accelerating along with the country’s social changes, including an increase in the number of single-person households and the rising popularity of online shopping, reports InsiderRetailAsia.com.
South Korean convenience stores made more money than large supermarkets last year. GS25, a popular c-store chain with more than 13,000 outlets, posted record operating profits of $217 million last year, while CU, the country’s largest c-store operator, reported record operating profits of $166 million.
At the same time, South Korea’s largest discount chain, Emart Inc., saw its operating profit plunge 67.4%. Homeplus Co., the second-largest retailer in the country, also is struggling, although the company has not yet released its financial report from 2019. Last year, Lotte Mart, the country’s third-largest retailer, posted an operating loss of $21 million and announced it would close several stores.
In addition to more single-person households, the success of South Korean c-stores is attributed to growth of the “simple meal” market and the trend of convenience stores transforming themselves into a lifestyle platform despite the overall decline in offline distribution.