Japan's Descente to close 47 kids wear shops in S Korea

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Japanese sports fashion brand Descente has decided to shut down 47 independent ‘Young Athlete’ outlets exclusively dedicated to kidswear in major department stores and malls in South Korea due to sluggish sales amid lingering disapproval of Japanese brands since last year’s trade tensions followed by the COVID-19 setback. The shops will be run until August.

The kids stores will be integrated with its general stores after that, according to South Korean media reports.

The Japanese company entered the Korean market in 2000 and launched the ‘Young Athlete’ brand in August 2016 and opened exclusive stores for kidswear in 2018.

But the company began facing unexpected setback last year when the anti-Japanese sentiment over Seoul and Tokyo’s conflicts led to Korean consumers’ boycott movement against Japanese goods and services.

Other Japanese fashion labels are also having a hard time in the country with a double whammy from the COVID-19 shutdowns. GU, a budget brand under Japanese fast-fashion giant Uniqlo, said recently that it would pull out all of the three offline stores, in just less than two years since it was launched in Korea in September 2018. Uniqlo also shuttered 13 outlets from February to May, bringing down the number of stores in Korea from 188 to 175 as of May 29.