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Uniqlo’s Seoul flagship to close

Protests had affected sales in Uniqlo stores in South Korea. Image: Koreabizwire

Uniqlo South Korea is to shut its major flagship store in Myeongdong, its largest in the country, a victim of Covid-19 and anti-Japanese sentiment in the nation. 

A sign has been hung at the store saying “Thank you for your patronage” and the company says on its website the store will close its doors on January 31. 

The store, the world’s second largest Uniqlo, generated US$1.8 million a day in sales when it first opened in 2011.

Besides the boycotts of Japanese products last year, the reason for the closure is attributed to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the foreign tourism. With Myeongdong a hotspot for visitors, the pandemic has significantly contributed to the fall in sales of the flagship. 

In September, Uniqlo closed nine of its outlets in the country due to a drop in demand for Japanese goods as retailers were affected by consumer boycotts in Seoul organised to protest against export restrictions imposed by the Japanese government on industrial materials bound for Korea.

The South Korean administration has also ordered the Japanese government to pay reparations for its Second World War-era war crimes against Korea.

In August, Uniqlo said no further shutdowns were planned and that it would open a new store in South Korea. 

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