FILE PHOTO: A Uniqlo retailer is seen on fifth Ave in New York, New York, U.S., March 19, 2019. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri
TOKYO (Reuters) – A boycott on Japanese items in South Korea has had an influence on informal clothes chain Uniqlo’s gross sales within the nation, the corporate mentioned on Friday, highlighting the widening financial hit from a diplomatic row over Tokyo’s wartime position.
Japan’s determination final month to tighten controls on exports of supplies that South Korea makes use of to make semiconductors and smartphone shows has prompted a shopper backlash in Korea, with shoppers boycotting Japanese merchandise from beer to pens.
Relations between the 2 U.S. allies at the moment are at their worst in a long time. The dispute is rooted in compensation for compelled laborers throughout Japan’s occupation and South Korea has repeatedly invoked its tough historical past with Japan, which colonized the Korean peninsula throughout World Battle Two.
“We will verify that there was an influence on the gross sales in Korea,” a spokeswoman for Uniqlo proprietor Quick Retailing (9983.T) mentioned, declining to provide figures.
The corporate’s latest determination to shut a retailer in Seoul was unrelated to the boycott, the spokeswoman mentioned, including that the contract for the property had ended and the corporate determined to not renew.
Japan cited safety issues for the curbs. The transfer, nevertheless, has additionally been seen as retaliation after a South Korean courtroom final yr ordered Japanese firms to compensate Koreans who had been compelled to work for Japanese occupiers throughout World Battle Two.
Japan has additionally eliminated South Korea from a listing of favored buying and selling companions.
Uniqlo is one in all Japan’s extra seen manufacturers globally outdoors the auto and electronics industries. It has near 190 shops in South Korea the place it sells round 140 billion yen ($1.three billion) of garments yearly, or 6.6% of its income.
Reporting by Ritsuko Ando and Chris Gallagher; Writing by David Dolan; modifying by Richard Pullin and Stephen Coates