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Embattled retailers are preparing for recovery

Jan 03,2020
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The past few years have been especially tough for retailers amid the sluggish economy and intense competition between physical stores and e-commerce.

Emart and Lotte Mart have continued to offer aggressive promotions to drive online consumers toward offline marts, while e-commerce operators like Coupang continued making aggressive investments, like building new distribution centers and expanding to food delivery platforms.

Amid the continuous struggles, leaders of major retailers have vowed to offer exclusive values and accelerate digital transformation.

Shinsegae Group Vice Chairman Chung Yong-jin on Thursday stressed the importance of seizing opportunities in the sluggish economy.

“Recession doesn’t mean all the opportunities are gone - it just means there are fewer opportunities,” said Chung. “Prepared companies could achieve bigger growth during difficult times.”

Restructuring the organization based on profit centers, finding opportunities through consumer complaints and offering exclusive values are the keys, according to Chung.

Shinsegae Department Store offering lifestyle values, Emart providing the lowest prices, exclusive products and unique store experiences will help the group achieve that goal.

Lotte Group Chairman Shin Dong-bin vowed to become a “game changer” through nimble decision-making.

“Please try to provide better values a step ahead of rivals,” Shin said Thursday, adding the need to catch trends and offer values that reflect that change.

Revolutionizing the existing business structure to make it more efficient will be a stepping stone to transform Lotte into a conglomerate with sustainable growth.

“Developing core competencies are a must to keeping the company solid in the rapidly changing environment. We need to develop businesses that best reflect our strengths.”

Shin added that digital transformation is crucial to that revolution.

Hyundai Department Store also stressed the importance of digital transformation.

Chairman Chung Ji-sun on Thursday said, “Digital transformation has proceeded in accordance with the characteristics of each business. In the age when we face emergencies everyday, grasping the change and building growth strategies by finding alternatives is a must.”

Chung explained that nimbly making decisions is crucial, saying plans should be made to supplement the practices performed ahead.

Cosmetics firms also sought for changes centering on digital transformation.

Amorepacific Group Chairman Suh Kyung-bae said the group will offer exclusive products that are made with heart-rending stories. Suh also vowed to aggressively accelerate digitalization with big data and digital marketing.

LG Household & Health Care, which offers cosmetics brands and beverages, will become a global firm beyond Asia.

“To truly become a global firm, we should keep the existing business base while accelerating the successful operation in America,” said Vice Chairman and CEO Cha Suk-yong.

Chairman Hur Young-in of SPC Group, which operates Paris Baguette, emphasized global business and the need to create jobs.

BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]