In the U.S. the biggest box is chased out of town by city council members or activists who can scrape up 51 percent of voters who want to deny the other 49 percent the opportunity to shop where they please. But in South Korea, shoppers themselves booted Wal-Mart. They did it not by denying choices to others, but by freely choosing to shop elsewhere:
Wal-Mart Stores Inc., in a highly unusual move, is leaving the South Korean market because it’s proved too tough for the world’s largest retailer to make a profit … For Wal-Mart, the move also reflects the company’s effort to boost what have been flagging returns on capital. And it reflects the difficulty of penetrating South Korea’s locally dominated market. … Wal-Mart has left an international market only once before and in a much smaller way. In early 1998, Wal-Mart got out of a three-year-old partnership to run two supercenters in Jakarta, Indonesia, which didn’t allow foreign investment in retail stores.