E-Land shutters stores as profit tumbles

South Korean retail giant E-mart is closing loss-making specialty stores as it responds to falling sales in a gloomy retail market. 

After closing outlets in its discount Pierrot Shopping network in July, the company is now looking at trimming the network further. 

“We’re considering closing the Pierrot Shopping store in Myeong-dong in order to enhance the profitability of specialty stores,” an E-mart official told The Korea Times.

The company has also closed 18 out of its 33 Boots health & beauty stores and the Pangyo branch of its technology-retailing chain Electro Mart.

E-Land launched Boots under licence in 2017 to take on CJ Group’s market-leading chain Olive Young, but the brand has made little impact to date.

E-mart’s profit fell from 194.6 billion won (US$166 million) in the third quarter of last year to 116.2 billion won ($97.2 million) in the same period this year. 

Analysts predict incoming CEO Kang Heui-seok will continue to rationalise store networks and focus on the group’s burgeoning online business SSG.com.

“E-mart will accelerate is business transformation under Kang’s leadership, as the CEO has extensive retail experience and ability to drive growth” an HI Investment & Securities analyst told The Korea Times.

“The company will seek to recover its profitability by minimising unprofitable businesses and focusing more on the online sector, SSG.com.”

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