SEOUL, Dec. 5 (Korea Bizwire) – Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo will close its outlet in Seoul’s popular shopping district next month, after a sharp fall in sales stemming from the new coronavirus outbreak and a trade dispute between Seoul and Tokyo.
Uniqlo said on its website recently in Korean that its global flagship store in Myeongdong, central Seoul, will stop operating Jan. 31. The outlet is the second biggest in the world after one in New York.
The closure came as online shopping has gained traction amid the COVID-19 pandemic and as its sales were hit hard by strained relations between the two neighboring countries over the trade tussle.
Fast Retailing Co., which operates Uniqlo in the country, logged 88.3 billion won (US$81.3 million) in operating losses between September 2019 and August 2020.
Uniqlo’s sales in South Korea took a beating as Korean consumers have boycotted Japanese products since July 2019 in protest of Japan’s export restrictions of some key industrial materials shipped to South Korea.
The trade curbs were imposed after the South Korean top court in 2018 ordered Japanese firms to compensate Korean victims of Japan’s wartime forced labor.