H&B store network shrank in South Korea

Date : 24 March 2021

Jiong-Jiong Yu

Senior Retail Analyst

The number of health and beauty (H&B) stores in South Korea dips for the first time as more consumers turned to online shopping.

31 stores closed in 2020

Olive Young, lalavla and LOHB’s are the country’s three major H&B retailers.  As of December 2020, they have a combined 1,484 stores, down by 31 from one year earlier. This is in contract to a steady store expansion in previous years: 1,014 stores in 2016, 1,358 in 2017, 1,488 in2018 and 1,515 in 2019.

The three retailers are owned by CJ group, GS Retail and Lotte Shopping, respectively.

Lotte Shopping said the number of LOHB's outlets shrank to 101 in 2020 from 129 in 2019. GS Retail disclosed that the number of lalavla stores fell to 124 from 140 for the same period.

Source: IGD


Physical H&B stores impacted by the pandemic

The retailers are downsizing the store network as the coronavirus outbreak prompted consumers to buy products online. Olive Young's online sales were up by 62% in 2020 from a year earlier.

In addition, more and more domestic and foreign brands are selling directly to consumers via online and social media channel, rather than going through H&B stores as before. This has also contributed to the reduced number of H&B stores in the country.