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South Korean brands look elsewhere

South Korean fashion companies are accelerating efforts to tap into overseas markets amid a prolonged domestic slump. For example, Shinsegae is planning to open three more Vov stores in China this year. Vov is a women’s wear brand. The company currently runs 48 branches of Vov. G-Cut opened its ninth store in China last year.

Handsome, the apparel unit of Hyundai, opened stores for its casual brands System and System Homme in Galeries Lafayette in Paris. This is an upmarket French department store and is famous for selling numerous designer labels that are favored by customers with deep pockets.

Samsung is revving efforts to expand its presence abroad, opening branches at department stores in New York and Hong Kong. The size of South Korea’s domestic fashion market is predicted to reach 39.3 trillion won in 2017, up from an estimated 38.3 trillion won last year. This would mark the fourth consecutive year of single-digit growth for the fashion industry. The market expanded 11.8 per cent on-year in 2011.

Apparel and footwear saw a slowdown in growth in 2016 although it remained positive. The decline in participation in outdoor activities had a negative effect on overall apparel and footwear. Global players had a strong presence while domestic players witnessed difficult conditions due to the trends of market polarisation and cost-effectiveness.