Posted : 2012-03-20 17:29
Updated : 2012-03-20 17:29

Lotte lies?

The Fauchon bakery is run by Jang Seon-yoon, granddaughter of Lotte Chairman Shin Kyuk-ho, at the basement of the Lotte Department Store in downtown Seoul.

By Kim Tae-jong

Lotte Group announced last January it would close its bakery business due to mounting criticism on family-controlled chaebol’s ruthless expansion into mom-and-pop store territory. But it turned out to be a lie.

Just 15 days after the announcement, Fauchon, a French bakery brand imported by Bliss, an affiliate owned by the group’s scion Jang Seon-yoon, opened a new store in Lotte Department Store in Jamsil, Seoul.

Another outlet at the department store’s Bundang branch in Gyeonggi Province has recently reopened after a large-scale renovation.

Currently, seven shops of Fauchon are thriving at Lotte’s department stores and other retail outlets.

But the operation of chain stores contrasts with Jang’s original promise for withdrawal from the business.

She said that she will close the bakery and cafes to respond to public opinion and to fulfill appropriate corporate responsibility to co-exist with small-scale businesses.

Bliss said it will soon sell its brand and terminate the contract with the French firm as planned.

“The opening of a new store and renovations was already scheduled before the announcement,” a Bliss official said. “I know it looks like we have gone back on our word, but the shutting down of a business takes time.”

Bliss will soon sell to a buyer that will retain the current staff and discuss the official procedure to end the contract with the French firm, he said.

She is not the only chaebol owner’s offspring who vowed to shut down businesses that could be a threat to smaller outfits, but have yet to keep their word.

Samsung Electronics Chairman Lee Kun-hee’s daughter Lee Bu-jin and Shinsegae scion Chung Yoo-kyung have not yet taken any steps toward withdrawing from the bakery trade.

Lee, who heads Samsung Everland and Hotel Shilla, has been involved in operating Artisee Boulangerie, the in-house bakery of Home Plus discount stores, partially owned by Shilla, while Chung who owns 40 percent of Chosun Hotel Bakery, has run bakery shops at Shinsegae’s department stores and E-Marts.

They said they were now preparing to close down their stores without giving any details.

Only, Chung Sung-yi, the eldest daughter of the Hyundai chairman, has taken visible steps to shut down bakery brand, Ozen, at the automaker’s headquarters in Seoul and its affiliated hotel on Jeju Island.

Critics say most scions had no intention to close their businesses in the first place _ they just wanted to silence accusations of devouring neighborhood businesses.

“They simply wanted to dodge criticism with empty promises,” said Kwon Oh-in, an official at the Citizens’ Coalition for Economic Justice. “They took a lukewarm stance without any concrete plans and were killing time as they hoped criticism would fade away.”

Children of chaebol owners seem to believe criticism by politicians is temporary and a routine to massage voters’ egos before the upcoming elections, he said.

Industry sources also said it was not an easy decision for them to give up lucrative businesses with low risk because they have expanded easily by operating bakeries or snack shops in their parents’ retail outlets.

There are 27 Artisee outlets nationwide, including those at Samsung Electronics’ factories, and they posted combined sales of 24.1 billion won last year.
관련 한글 기사

롯데는 거짓말쟁이?

지난 1월 롯데 그룹은 재벌들이 골목상권을 침해한다는 비판이 일자 빵집사업을 접겠다고 발표했지만 지금까지 아무런 조치도 취하고 있지 않다.

롯데 계열의 블리스는 사업 철수를 발표한지 15일 만에 롯데백화점 잠실점에 추가로 빵집을 개장했다. 블리스는 프랑스 브랜드인 포숑의 수입업체로 현재 신격호 그룹 회장의 외손녀인 장선윤씨가 대표로 있다.

분당에 위치한 롯데백화점에서는 최근 또 다른 매장이 레노베이션을 끝내고 새롭게 문을 열었다.

현재, 롯데백화점 본점과 분점들에 입점한 매장을 포함, 총 7개의 포숑 매장이 영업 중이다.
이 같은 영업은 장선윤 대표가 밝히 약속과는 거리가 멀어 보인다. 장 대표는 작은 업체들과의 공생을 위해 사업을 접겠다고 밝혔었다.
이와 관련해, 블리스측은 곧 사업을 매각할 것이며, 계획대로 프랑스 본사와의 계약을 정리할 것이라고 밝혔다.
“새 매장 개장 및 레노베이션은 발표 이전에 이미 계획되었던 일이었다. 약속을 지키지 않고 있는 듯 보일 수 있겠지만, 사업을 정리하는 데는 시간이 많이 소요된다,”라고 블리스의 한 관계자는 말했다.

하지만, 블리츠즉이 포숑 사업 철수를 단순히 차일 피일 미루는 것이 아니냐는 비판의 목소리도 거세다.
“대기업들은 지키지도 않을 약속으로 비판 여론을 벗어나려고 했던 것이다. 아무 구체적 계획 없이 비판 여론이 잦아들 때까지 시간만 벌고 있다,”라고 경실련의 권오인 부장은 말했다.

롯데를 비롯해, 삼성, 신세계 등 재벌 기업들은 빵집 사업 철수를 모두 밝혔지만, 아직까지 구체적인 조치를 취한 곳은 한 곳도 없다.

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