Apparel maker Onward to pull out of S. Korea amid worsening bilateral ties

09, Oct. 2019

SEOUL, NNA - Major Japanese apparel maker Onward Holdings Co. will withdraw from South Korea in the current business year ending in February 2020 as the worsening trade dispute between the two countries has led to sluggish sales there.

The Tokyo-based company is moving ahead with work to shut down its sales outlets in South Korea, an Onward spokesman said on Monday. “We’ve recently been performing poorly because of the tensions between Japan and South Korea,” Onward President Michinobu Yasumoto told an earnings briefing with Japanese media including Kyodo News on the same day.

In 2017, Onward started selling golfing attire at department stores and other outlets in South Korea through its local subsidiary.

Onward announced a major restructuring plan last week that includes the closure of several hundred domestic and overseas money-losing outlets over the coming years.

At the briefing, Onward said its Asia-specific restructuring plan focuses on the liquidation of its South Korean operations as well as reforms of its sales structure and business model in China.

Onward has been operating sales outlets in South Korea, mostly on a shop-in-shop basis, which numbered 26 at the end of 2018.

Japan-South Korea relations have plunged due to disputes over wartime history and trade policy, hampering trade and tourism between the two neighboring countries.