Retail in Asia

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Can Boots compete in Korea?

Retail in Asia Boots Korea

E-mart, South Korea’s leading hypermarket retailer, has earned an exclusive right to open and run Boots drugstores in Korea. But will consumers be interested?

Striking a franchise contract with Walgreens Boots Alliance, E-Mart aims to open the first Boots shop in Korea in the first half of next year. Products will be tailored to local tastes, including a range of leading local cosmetics brands and over-the-counter medicine.

Boots fans will be happy to know that the Korean stores will also stock “exclusive to Boots” brands such as “No7” and “Soap & Glory”. The arrival of Boots is also expected to further escalate the competition in the country’s drugstore market that is already crowded with CJ OLIVE YOUNG, GS Watsons and Lotte LOHBS.

E-Mart has been operating its own drugstore brand BOONS that has failed to win Korean consumers’ hearts and will phase out BOONS brand to start anew with Boots brand stores.

According to, Walgreens’ Asian interests include Boots Thailand, a wholly owned retail business that has 250 stores. The company also has stakes in a chain of stores in China and in pharmaceuticals wholesalers in the country.

(Source: Financial Times)