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Major U.S. retailers fall; S. Korea's fashion industry hit by COVID-19 Updated: 2020-05-21 10:08:58 KST

Major department stores in the U.S. are declaring bankruptcy one after the other, as the country grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic that's discouraging or even preventing shoppers from going out.
J. Crew, a retailer that used to have around 13-thousand employees, filed for bankruptcy protection on May 4th.
Luxury retailer Neiman Marcus followed a matter of days later.

"It's so sad to see this happening, because it's such a legacy brand, it's such a wonderful lifestyle brand."

The latest to go under was JC Penney, a huge retailer that boasts 118-years of history, around 850 stores and some 85-thousand employees.

"There is extreme need and demand for essentials and household products, groceries. On the other hand, consumer discretionary items, such as apparel, department stores closures, those involved in a huge negatives. So bankruptcies will happen."

The failure of major U.S. retailers has rippled across the Pacific to South Korea's fashion industry as well, with many original equipment manufacturers seeing demand dwindle.

"With distribution companies in the U.S. and Europe facing difficulties, South Korean companies working in the same value chain are also suffering."

South Korea's textile fashion exports fell more than 35 percent on-year in April to some 760 million U.S. dollars.
In light of the grim figures, the South Korean government has pledged measures to support the industry.

"We need to reorganize our business structure to one that can ensure stable profits and enhance the competitiveness of the textile and fashion industry."

The government is also looking for ways to help those working in the industry.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.
Reporter : jhee@arirang.com
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