Another one bites the dust... and as abruptly too. Earlier this week, it was announced that South Korean beauty brand Nature Republic has cut ties with its Malaysian distributors.
The closure was unceremoniously announced in the comments section of Nature Republic Malaysia's last Facebook post, where it was also highlighted that NR Korea pulled out of the Taiwan market in November last year
In an unceremonious Facebook post, Nature Republic Malaysia wrote, "Less than 1 year ago, the Taiwan Nature Republic which is directly owned by NR Korea closed in whole Taiwan. Now Nature Republic Malaysia one of the oldest NR Korea Distributor since 2009 closed also.
Now it is up to the public to judge the root problem."
It's not exactly an official announcement, but lifestyle portal Discover KL reported that NR Malaysia representatives have confirmed the closure via a phone call.
While that's not much of an explanation, Nature Republic Malaysia seems to be hinting that the abrupt closure could be a repercussion from the bad press surrounding its parent company and its former CEO Jung Woon-ho
Nature Republic Malaysia replied to several queries on their Facebook post with a link to an article from 30 September 2016, which reported that investors are urging the company to sell off Jung's majority stake and the management right.
Jung, who is also the founder of Nature Republic, was incarcerated in October 2015 after getting embroiled in an illegal gambling scandal and a string of violence and lobbying charges. Jung stepped down as CEO in June 2016 and was promptly replaced by then senior VP Kim Chang-ho, who has been trying to revitalise the company and opened stores in the US and Russia.
The article reported that the company has "suffered from deteriorating earnings" since Jung was imprisoned, having recorded a 1.8 billion won in operating loss in the first half of 2016
In comparison, the company recorded 16.3 billion won in net profit in the first half of 2015.
So, what's gonna happen to Nature Republic outlets in Malaysia? At this point, it's pretty much confirmed that all 11 stores will eventually be closed down, although no specific date has been fixed yet.
It is unlikely that Nature Republic products will be sold online as well, as the official website is not longer in service.
You might be able to find the products on e-commerce platforms like Lazada, 11Street, and Hermo, but do note that the Malaysian distributors issued a notice on 10 April stating that the aforementioned online stores are considered unauthorised sellers and the products sold by them could be considered fake or counterfeit.