E-Land puts Kim’s Club up for sale

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E-Land puts Kim’s Club up for sale

Korea’s retail giant E-Land Group said on Monday it would sell off its discount chain Kim’s Club.

“We set our priorities on the global retail business including the expansion of our global SPA [Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel] for the future,” the company said in a release.

The discount chain business has been quite lucrative with annual sales revenue of roughly 1 trillion won ($865 million) but the company is facing tough competition, which led the leading retailer to put Kim’s Club up for sale.

Korea’s discount chain outlet market is currently driven by three key players: E-Mart, Lotte Mart and Homeplus.

Following the deal, E-Land aims to beef up its fashion and outlet retail sector, where they have strength, to accelerate their growth.

The group expects to see improvements in its financial structure by securing its capital, pulling down the company’s debt ratio.

The financial structure reform is one of the emphases made by the government through its announcement of the nation’s 10 main issues for financial reform.

E-Land will run an open bidding for companies in and out of the country to process the sell-off of Kim’s club.

Insiders say possible candidates for the acquisition are E-Mart, the nation’s No.1 hypermarket chain and Orion.

However, both deny the move. “We have never thought about the bid and it’s impossible,” said a spokesman from Shinsegae Group. Orion also denied interest.

BY KIM JEE-HEE [kim.jeehee@joongang.co.kr]

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