After barely three years in the Singapore market, Japanese fashion brand Lowrys Farm is calling it quits.
The label's eight outlets, in prime locations such as Suntec City Mall and 313@somerset, will shut by Feb 18, a day before Chinese New Year, staff told The Straits Times.
The brand's parent company, Adastria Holdings, will also yank its other fashion label here, Global Work, which has one outlet in Westgate mall in Jurong East.
"The reason why we are closing our stores in Singapore is... we can't make enough sales because of climate difference and fashion taste," Adastria Holdings spokesman Mika Takano told The Straits Times from Japan.
The firm is closing only its Singapore stores - Lowrys Farm has close to 200 stores globally.
Lowrys Farm and Global Work carry casual wear - items such as long skirts, loose-fitting tops, cardigans and scarfs - targeted at young working adults. Their merchandise is often pastel or floral-print.
Adastria Holdings staff said they were told about two months ago that they were going to lose their jobs.
Human resources executive Joanna Kan, 26, said all 150 workers of the two brands will have to go.
"The Japan director came to HQ and to all the shops to tell the staff. He apologised and gave a speech," she said. "But at least we have enough time to find a new job."
She added that staff have started informing customers about the closure.
Lowrys Farm opened to much fanfare in Singapore in March 2012.
Global Work opened in December 2013.
When The Straits Times visited the Global Work outlet at Westgate on Thursday, a "Farewell Sale" with discounts of up to 50 per cent was on. Similar sales were held at the Lowrys Farm outlets.
This will not be the first Japanese company that has failed in Singapore.
Japanese skincare brand Fancl closed its 13 stores last March; Japanese lifestyle store Francfranc pulled out of Singapore in May after two years.
The Japanese fashion brands' demise was likely due to intense competition and high costs, said Singapore Polytechnic senior retail lecturer Sarah Lim.
"The brands are targeting young adults, a market flooded with new international entrants like H&M and Stradivarius, which are very aggressive in their sales," she said.
These consumers also shop online, she said, so the brands were hit by online competition as well.
"And then costs here like rental and labour are high. Sales could be good but just not enough to be profitable," she said, adding that the brand's products might also have missed the mark.
"Their positioning is not clear. Lowrys Farm is pricier than H&M, so youth don't buy from them, but working adults want something more formal," Ms Lim added.
This article was first published on Jan 10, 2015.
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