Descente forced to shutter stores in South Korea as anti-Japan bias continues

Japanese sportswear label Descente is shuttering 47 kidswear stores in South Korea in the wake of anti-Japanese sentiment combined with the impact of Covid-19 on the territory.

The Young Athlete outlets, which deal in clothing and accessories for kids, will close their department store and mall locations in August, with stock being redistributed to Descente’s full-range stores.

The formerly popular Descente brand saw an 89-per-cent dip in operating profits last year to US$7.26 million compared with its 2018 results, and a 15-per-cent drop in sales to $496.9 million. The drop was initially prompted by souring diplomatic ties between Japan and Korea, prompting a general boycott of Japanese goods in the territory.

Further declines in business due to the coronavirus pandemic proved too much for the firm, with the Young Athlete stores deemed unviable to continue trading.

Similar closures have been seen amongst other Japanese firms trading in the Korean market, including fast-fashion giant Uniqlo, which this month announced it would close physical stores of its diffusion brand GU in the country.


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