Boycott drives Shu Uemura from Korea

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Boycott drives Shu Uemura from Korea

Shu Uemura online website. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

Shu Uemura online website. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

 
Shu Uemura, a beauty brand of the L’Oreal Group, is pulling out of Korea after 16 years.  
 
A boycott of Japanese products by Korean consumers is the reason, according to local media, but the company says the decision was part of a plan to readjust its business portfolio.  
 
The brand, established by a Japanese makeup artist, is planning to pull out of the Korean market by September.  
 
“L’Oreal Korea decided to close Shu Uemura by September 2021, gradually closing online and offline stores,” said the company in a statement on Monday. The decision “is part of a plan to maximize our brand portfolio. As a global company, [we] periodically review our brand portfolio based on demand from the local market.”
 
The company denied the pullout is related to Koreans’ boycott of Japanese products that started in 2019 in protest of Japan’s restrictions on exports of some key industrial materials to Korea. That boycott has resulted in the closure of some branches of Japanese brands, like Uniqlo.
 
Shu Uemura’s sales in department stores fell from 10 to 20 percent as a result of the boycott, according to local media reports.
Shu Uemura, established in 1958, was acquired by L’Oreal in 2003. It has more than 70 outlets in Korea, 35 in department stores and others in health and beauty stores like Olive Young and Chicor.  
 
The brand became popular in Korea with a cleansing oil, but is said to have been less successful with other products.
 
BY JIN MIN-JI [jin.minji@joongang.co.kr]
 
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