Consumer Industry Reports

Boycott In South Korea Affects Sales Of Japanese Retailer Uniqlo


A shun on Japanese products in South Korea had impacted on Uniqlo’s sales of casual clothing across the country, the company said. Uniqlo also highlighted the widening economic collision from a diplomatic row over Tokyo’s war role. Japan’s verdict in the last month to secure controls on exports of components that South Korea utilizes to produce smartphone displays and semiconductors has prompted a customer backlash in Korea, with customers shunning Japanese goods from beer to pens. Relations amid the two U.S. associates are now at their worst level in decades. The spat is rooted in compensation for forced laborers in Japan’s occupation and repeatedly South Korea has summoned its complicated history with Japan, which inhabited the Korean peninsula throughout World War II.

A spokesperson for Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing declined to give figures and reported, “We can say that the sales in Korea have been affected.” The company’s latest conclusion to shut a store in Seoul was not related to the boycott, the spokesperson said, adding that the bond for the property had completed and the company has decided not to renew it. Japan mentioned security worries for the cuts. However, this step has also been seen as retribution following a South Korean court in the last year ordered Japanese firms to pay Koreans who were forced to employ for Japanese occupiers throughout World War II. Reportedly, Uniqlo is one of Japan’s major global brands outside the automobile and electronics industries. It has around 190 stores in South Korea and it sells approximately $1.3 Billion (140 Billion yen) of clothes annually.

On a related note, South Korean consumers boycotted Muji products similar to Uniqlo even in cyberspace. According to IGAWorks—mobile data provider—said that in July the number of MAUs (monthly active users) among Android smartphone users for the app of Uniqlo dropped by 29%, to 510,440 from 721,472 in the past month. The number declined by 28% from the average of the first 6 months of the year.

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