Supermarket’s Shop Owners Close Stalls

More than 100 rented stalls and shops at a newly opened Pencil Supermarket on Phnom Penh’s Sisowath Quay were closed by shop owners on Monday after shop owners demanded that the supermarket give them a 50 percent discount on their monthly rent.

Food, clothing and CD vendors say they can’t afford the fee and plan to keep their stalls and shops closed until Wednesday.

“The sellers cannot sell well be­cause nobody comes to buy,” said one seller who protested in front of the supermarket on Mon­day. “Some days we could not even earn $10 selling our shoes.”

Many of the sellers complained that the supermarket owners have not done marketing promotions or set aside a parking area for customers, as they have at their location on Street 214.

Brian Keo, a Cambodian-Amer­ican who is one of the owners of Pen­cil, said Monday that the su­permarket charges sellers $280 a month and signed a contract with them in April. Sellers interviewed inside the supermarket and in front of it said they are charged between $300 and $600 per month.

The supermarket, which open­ed in April in Daun Penh district’s Chaktomuk commune, rents space to shop owners.

Pencil has already given the shop owners a 20 percent discount, Brian Keo said. High electricity costs and other operating ex­penses are keeping the supermarket from making a profit, he said.

“We want to do business to­gether, but I don’t know what to do,” Brian Keo said. “They don’t respect the contract, even though we already gave them a 20 percent discount. But 50 percent, that is impossible. We would lose mo­ney.”

Chaktomuk commune Police Chief Chea Sothy said Monday he believed that the issue could not easily be resolved.

(Additional reporting by Matt Reed)

 

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