|Inside of Home plus Special in Mokdong, southwestern Seoul / Courtesy of Home plus|
By Park Jae-hyuk
The second basement of Home plus' Mokdong branch in southwestern Seoul looked totally different, Wednesday, as the discount store's space selling groceries has been converted into a warehouse store with capacious shelves piled with boxes.
"As I said in March at a press conference about the business strategy of Home plus, we will unveil Home plus Special today to fulfill our promise to make a store satisfying our customers," Home plus CEO Lim Il-soon said at a press conference, a day before the opening of Seoul's first Home plus Special. "We opened Home plus Special stores in Daegu and Busan last month, and they have been well-received by consumers."
Defining Mokdong as the battlefield of retailers in Korea, she predicted fierce competition with Yangpyung Costco Warehouse and Lotte Vic Market's Yeongdeungpo branch, which are 1.6 kilometers and 2.7 kilometers from Home plus Special, respectively.
Home plus, however, is confident the new warehouse store will be a success.
Kim Woong, the company's executive in charge of merchandise management, distinguished Home plus Special from other warehouse stores, emphasizing Home plus Special sells merchandise in small packages as well as in bulk.
"Home plus Special will not lose to nearby warehouse stores only selling merchandise in bulk," he said.
|Inside Home plus Special in Mokdong, southwestern Seoul / Courtesy of Home plus|
Home plus displays merchandise in small packages on the upper shelves in the new store, while the bulk items are stored at the bottom.
The retailer adopted this kind of display, after having focus group interviews with housewives last year.
The new store's spaces between shelves are broader than before, but the height of shelves is unchanged. Customers therefore can easily pick items from the upper shelves.
The discount chain decided to offer 17,000 types of products at the store, down from 22,000, after selecting the best-selling items.
Such strategies led Home plus Special's Daegu and Seobusan branches to show a 113.2 percent increase in their year-on-year sales between June 27 and July 8. Their customer transactions also rose 45 percent from a year earlier, according to Home plus.
Home plus expects the new store will attract residents in southwestern Seoul, as well as those in Bucheon and Gwangmyeong, Gyeonggi Province.
It plans to convert 20 stores into Home plus Special stores this year.