Traditional retail markets have long been the center for urban vitality, yet they have been under threat of advancing superstores run by corporate retailers. Studies have attempted to identify the competitiveness of the markets, but empirical evidence is not sufficient for presenting which factors contribute to the maintenance of a traditional market's economic vitality. In South Korea, urban policies have been directed to revitalizing the markets, but their effectiveness has been questioned. This study aims to fill this void by examining traditional markets in Seoul with multiple regression on (1) the revenue and (2) the volume of customers and with negative binomial regression on (3) the popularity measured by the number of blog posts on the markets. Using a comprehensive set of variables, this paper finds that investments in physical infrastructure (p < 0.000) and organizational/operational capacities (p < 0.008 and p < 0.094) make a significant contribution to the economic vitality. Among product categories, the ratios of perishable food stores were found to be significant (p < 0.000) as well as those of food shops and vendors (p < 0.030). On the other hand, extending convenient facilities and anchor stores would reduce the revenue in the short term. In addition, traditional markets that are recognized as popular destinations may not necessarily be profitable. In this vein, attention should be paid to this mismatch when a strategy is deliberated to transform a market into a tourist attraction.
Yi, Y. M., & Gim, T. H. T. (2018). What makes an old market sustainable? An empirical analysis on the economic and leisure performances of traditional retail markets in Seoul. Sustainability (Switzerland), 10(6). https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061779