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Columbia Korea in aggressive expansion

US sportswear brand Columbia says it will expand its retail network in South Korea, part of a strategy to become one of the top three retailers in its category there by 2020.

Columbia Korea will expand its existing 250-strong retail network and broaden its range of apparel to achieve its goal, moving into the fishing, yoga and casual outdoor categories.

“It’s true that the outdoor clothing market has become saturated. But that won’t hamper our continued growth,” Shim Han-bo, CEO of Columbia Korea, told a press conference in Seoul.

“I’m confident that Columbia is superior to rivals in terms of technology. We have nearly 200 patented technologies, which lie at the core of our competitiveness and pride.”

He said the company is targeting 500 billion won (US$430 million) in annual sales by 2020.

Last year it ranked seventh with 320 billion won in sales, or US$274.6 million.

“A major portion of profits are generated at department stores and other offline outlets. We will keep trying to boost competitiveness of these conventional outlets. At the same time, we will try hard to increase sales at online retailers,” he said.

“Many companies are wrestling with declining sales. Against all odds, however, I believe that brands with a long history and that have their own time-tested philosophy will never die out, one of which is Columbia.”

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