Abstract: The Emergence of Mass Markets and the Dynamics of Retail Forms in Korea

Insoo Baek

Abstract

In this paper, I examine the evolution of major retail forms—supermarkets, department stores, discount stores, and convenience stores—in Korea during three phases from the 1970s to the 1990s. Korea provides a useful comparison to Japan, showing how two nations subject to similar pressures from mass markets have experienced difficult structural and operational changes within retailing. Particular emphasis is given to changing markets and competition among retail forms and the relation of those factors to operating systems. I find that, although the dynamics of retail change in later developed countries create similar innovations in retail forms, plural paths of adaptation occur across national boundaries because of differences in markets, competition, and operating systems.

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