says Wal-Mart stumped by
South Korean consumers
may be a giant among U.S. discount retailers, but South Korean shoppers
aren't impressed, says John C. Clark, a professor of management
at California State University, Sacramento.
Clark says that since opening its first store in 1996, Wal-Mart's
South Korean operation has chosen bad locations, set prices too
high and had a poor selection of merchandise. The stores have taken
a beating from South Korea's local E-Mart chain, which sells more
than twice as much per square foot.
Clark's study, "A comparative analysis of satisfaction of American
and Korean customers with discount stores," was co-written
by HoJong Hwang of Yong-In University in South Korea. It has been
submitted to various international business journals.
The study examined a dozen factors in customer satisfaction, including
merchandise price and quality, politeness, quick service, assortment
of products and overall convenience. It concludes that South Koreans
aren't as satisfied with Wal-Mart service or merchandise as Americans
are. And for South Koreans merchandise is the most important part
of their overall satisfaction.
"Wal-Mart just hasn't adjusted well to the South Korean market,"
Clark says. "They tried to put in a cookie cutter operation,
and it isn't working for them."
Clark says Wal-Mart has enjoyed more success in eight other international
markets - Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Mexico, Puerto
Rico and the United Kingdom.
Wal-Mart is the largest corporation in the United States, with $220
billion in revenue in 2001 and 1.2 million employees.
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