Red-colored accessories put manufacturers in the black

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Red-colored accessories put manufacturers in the black

The sportswear department of Lotte Department Store's main branch in Sogong-dong, Seoul, is a big red blob. Most of the display mannequins are garbed in red. Red clothes dominate the women's casual and children's wear sections.

"White and blue shirts were most popular about this time in the past years, as the weather was hot," a clerk at the sportswear department said Sunday. "But this time, red shirts represent half of our shirt sales."

Red has become the favorite of domestic consumers, as the Korean soccer team, swathed in red, has done well in the World Cup.

Puma, a sportswear maker, said its sales of red T-shirts jumped by five times this year over last year. Fila Korea, another sportswear firm, said it sold 1.5 billion won ($1.2 million) of red T-shirts for April and May and that sales were up seven-fold over that of the same period last year.

A few hours before the national team's match against the United States on Monday, red T-shirts urging fans to "Be the Reds," were flying off street stalls near Seoul's city hall plaza, which was overflowing with soccer fans when the match started. The shirts have become ubiquitous, since the members of "Red Devils," the well-known volunteer cheering squad for the Korean team, wear the shirts. About 400,000 "Be the Reds" shirts had been sold as of Sunday.

Not only red shirts but also red sports shoes, sneakers, caps and bags are popular, retailers said. The color has also barged its way into women's non-sports wear. Vov, a women's casual wear maker, said sales of its red one-piece dresses jumped with the opening of the World Cup. The company is now receiving advance orders for the dresses.

"Women's casual wear makers are now having difficulty securing materials for red sleeveless shirts and blouses, as demand exceeds supply," said Shin Gi-nam, an official at Shinsegae Department Store.

Also in vogue: "Be the Reds" shirts for pet dogs. Though around 16,000 won, much higher than the price of a "Be the Reds" shirt for men, the doggie shirts are flying off the shelves in pet shops in Toigyero, Seoul.

A pet shop in Pil-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul sold all of its 300 "Be the Reds" doggie shirts and 300 Korean jerseys. "The Korean team uniform shirts with the number 16 are very popular, since Koreans hope the national team will reach the 16-nation second round," a pet shop clerk said.

by Kim Jun-hyun

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