Business / Corporate

Japanese casual wear retailer G.U. to open first store in South Korea

Nna/kyodo

Casual clothing retailer G.U. Co. will open its first store in South Korea in September, its fourth shop overseas, following the success of renowned sister brand Uniqlo, which has over 180 outlets in the country.

G.U., a unit of Japan’s leading casual wear chain operator Fast Retailing Co., plans to launch an online app on Aug. 1 to sell low-priced brand products, and an online retail site Sept. 1. Its brick-and-mortar presence will have a floor space of about 1,400 square meters and will open in Seoul on Sept. 14, according to the company.

The G.U. brand is known for its domestically popular ¥990 ($8.90) jeans, and has achieved a sharp growth in sales since its launch in 2006. It has already entered China, Hong Kong and Taiwan.

Men’s, women’s and kids’ clothing will be available at the planned outlet, which is to be located in Lotte World Mall in the Jamsil neighborhood of Seoul.

Last week G.U.’s CEO Yunoki Osamu said at a news conference that “South Korea is very fashion-conscious, and entering the country is an inevitable step for us.” He declined to comment on the firm’s sales targets or store network expansion plans.

FRL Korea Co., a joint venture between Fast Retailing and local retail outlet operator Lotte Shopping Co., will run the G.U. shop.

The local arm is 51 percent owned by Fast Retailing, and since 2005 has increased the number of Uniqlo brand shops to 186 at the end of May this year.

It posted an operating profit of 176.5 billion won ($156 million) in the year to August 2017, up 64.5 percent from the previous year, on sales of 1.24 trillion won, up 4.7 percent, according to its financial statements.