Fast Retailing said on Friday that it’s pulling its GU chain out of the South Korean market later this summer. It will close all three of its GU stores in the country, less than two years after it opened the first location there. The brand had launched in South Korea with a Seoul debut in September 2018.
But the company, which also owns the giant Uniqlo chain, said that “due to uncertainty caused by such factors as a necessary reconstruction of its business configuration, including e-commerce channels, and the impact of Covid-19, the company will cease store operations from around August of this year”.
There are likely to be many other retailers rethinking smaller international operations as they fully assess the after-effects of the pandemic in the months and years ahead.
GU isn’t only making a physical store exit from the country with the website only operating until July.
However, the brand will still be available to Korean customers with Fast Retailing planning to “continue selling select GU product collections via the Uniqlo Korea online store in future”.
It also said it “wishes to take this opportunity to apologize for any inconvenience caused to customers as well as business partners, to which the company is prepared to offer a thorough explanation and provide the best possible support”.