Over 10,000 eateries and 1,000 PC rooms or other entertainment locations have closed down in April-June period in Seoul to further underscore the dismal conditions of self-employed businesses from the protracted virus crisis.
According to data compiled by local online property market tracker Real Estate 114 Inc on Monday, the number of stores in operation in Seoul fell 5.4 percent to 370,321 in the April-June quarter from the previous three-month period.
The dining-out sector reported the biggest closures, with 100,040 eateries disappearing in the second quarter. This left 124,001 eateries in business in the second quarter, down 7.5 percent compared to the first quarter.
Diners have been experiencing a significant contraction in sales as people avoided dining out to avoid infection, while companies sent their employees home for remote working to practice social distancing rules, said the real estate market tracker.
The number of retail shops including convenience stores fell 3.1 percent to 123,003 in the second quarter compared to the previous quarter. That of personal service providers like print shops and hair salons declined 5.1 percent to 54,529.
The leisure and entertainment service sector, which includes PC rooms/internet cafes and tour agencies, was the hardest hit by the virus crisis, with 1,260 businesses closing down. The number of businesses in the sector shrank 10.8 percent in the second quarter compared to previous quarter.
The retail sector saw 3,950 business closures, or 3.1 percent quarter-on-quarter fall in the number of shops in business, followed by education service sector with 1,655 closures (5.2 percent fall), realtors with 803 closures (5.1 percent fall), and lodging sector with 160 closures (5.1 percent fall).
The real estate market tracker projected the number of small merchants going out of business would only grow in the third quarter as the capital area fell under tougher social distancing measures in August-September period.
The capital city and surrounding has been under the so-called 2.5 lockdown, which is a tad below the highest level 3 of full-scale lockdown, on resurgence of virus infections from mid-August. The quasi-lockdown measures, which is scheduled to last until Sept 13 for now, bans eating out after 9 p.m. and allow only take-outs from cafes and bakeries. Gyms and indoor activity centers are also closed in the capital region.
[ⓒ Pulse by Maeil Business Newspaper & mk.co.kr, All rights reserved]