NK Times reports only facts that have been thoroughly confirmed by local sources in North Korea.

North Korean marketplace shoe sellers began switching items due to low shoe sales

North Korean marketplace shoe sellers began switching items due to low shoe sales

05/28/2024 10:00

A market shoe store in Hoeryeong, North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, photographed in May 2024. (Photo = NK Times)

It has been reported that the number of shoe sellers switching their sales items is increasing as shoe sales in markets in North Hamgyong Province, North Korea, have decreased significantly.

According to a Hamgyongbuk-do source from NK Times on the 28th, the number of shoe stalls in markets in North Hamgyong Province, including Hoeryeong City, has been decreasing recently. As the situation continues where they are unable to sell even 10 pairs of shoes a month, many sellers are said to be switching the items they sell.

The customers who mainly purchase shoes in North Korea are college students, some office workers, the wealthy, and executives. The price range of shoes sold in North Korean marketplaces is known to be between 20,000 and 150,000 North Korean won for domestic shoes, while imported leather shoes are sold for between 160,000 won and up to 500,000 won.

Accordingly, executives and men from wealthy families prefer expensive shoes, while ordinary office workers and college students are said to look for inexpensive domestically made 3.8 shoes.

In North Korea, ordinary office workers and college students buy a pair of durable shoes and wear them for an average of two years, and after repairs, they wear them for three to four years. Therefore, shoe sales in markets are decreasing every year.

Although sales increase briefly when new students enter college, it is known that it is difficult to sell even 10 sets a month at most other times.

Compared to the average of more than 50 colors sold per month before COVID-19, the current sales volume is very low. Sources point out that due to this situation, an increasing number of sellers are recently leaving shoe stores (going out of business) and switching to other items that are in high demand among residents, such as food and women’s clothing.

A source said, “In recent years, as major items distributed in the market have been controlled by the state, the market business is not what it used to be. In Hoeryeong City, there were about 30 shoe stores four years ago, but now the number has decreased by almost half to 15.”

He also added, “Nowadays, it is difficult to make a lot of money if you do not participate in state-led business such as national trade or national smuggling,” and added, “It is not easy to participate in even that without knowing someone (connection).”

***This article was translated by Google, so the content may differ from the Korean article.


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