Shinsegae Group pulling E-mart out of China

Korean E-mart discount chain will leave the Chinese market, says Shinsegae Group vice-chairman Chung Yong-jin.

While this has been expected by industry observers, this is the first time there has been an official announcement, reports The Korea Times.

Opening its first E-mart store in Shanghai in 1997, Shinsegae planned to run 1000 stores in China. It had 27 stores by 2010, but stalled with high rents, unfavourable locations and a slump in the Chinese economy.

More recently it has been hit by anti-Korea sentiment among Chinese consumers over the deployment of a US anti-missile system in Korea.

In a restructure bid, Shinsegae tried to restructure its business in China, ending up with just seven stores. The retailer did not renew a rental contract for its Shanghai store and is expected to close its other six outlets as soon as possible.

Chung also says work will continue on a Shinsegae Department Store in Bucheon, Gyeonggi province., which has been delayed by strong opposition from small retailers in the area.

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