Civic groups call for boycott of Lotte products, stores
Korean civic groups on Monday called for a nationwide boycott of stores and products made by retail giant Lotte Group, to put pressure on the conglomerate to follow guidelines aimed at helping small-time stores.
The Save Local Stores Alliance and the Voter Citizenship Behavior that have a combined 2 million members, said they will go on an indefinite boycott of alcoholic beverages, soft drinks and other products made by Lotte, and department stores, discount outlets and supermarkets operated by the country's No. 1 retail conglomerate.
"Lotte has been reluctant to support guidelines that call for mandatory closures of stores on Sundays that can help divert shoppers to use small, neighborhood stores, and raise credit card charges on its one Lotte Big Market wholesale warehouse store, which only accepts Lotte Card and cash," a official for the alliance claimed.
Lotte has set very low credit card charges for the warehouse store, that places other local stores, which have to pay higher rates, at a price disadvantage.
"Lotte's actions are threatening the livelihood of small stores," he said, urging the conglomerate to be more "responsive" to the plight of small-time entrepreneurs.
The groups said their members, including 600,000 bars, restaurants and karaoke establishments, will not serve Lotte's products such as the popular Scotch Blue whiskey and Chum Churum soju, a popular distilled beverage made from various starches.
Scotch Blue enjoys the third-largest market share among local whiskey products, while Chum Churum is vying for the top place against Chamisul, made by rival Hite Jinro Co.
In addition, the civic groups said its members have vowed not to sell such products as Pepsi Cola, Ceylon Tea, Chilsung cider, and various biscuits, crackers and ice creams made by Lotte affiliates.
The organizations said they plan to rally support from 6 million local civic group members and families of small store owners to not buy at Lotte Department Store, Lotte Mart and Lotte Super.
The two organizations, meanwhile, said they have called for consumer boycotts of other large discount stores such as Homeplus and E-mart. (Yonhap)