Uniqlo plans aggressive brick-and-mortar retail expansion

Thursday, Oct 19, 2023

The japanese fashion brand, Uniqlo, has been making waves in the retail world. Earlier this month, the retailer posted a quarterly profit boost of 18%. During this exponential growth in profits, the company has also been making aggressive retail expansion plans with 80 new stores on the horizon. 

Several of these new stores will be in the U.S., which is a major focus area for the brand. Uniqlo’s new CEO of operations in the U.S., Yoshihide Shindo, has shared that he plans to bring 200 new physical stores to the company’s American portfolio by 2027.

“Globally, we are the third-largest apparel retailer, with over 2,400 stores,” Shindo said. “It’s an exciting phase of growth as we continue to open stores throughout North America. Expansion in the U.S. is an important step.”

The new stores will have a number of new features that Uniqlo has been slowly integrating into their brick-and-mortar appeal, including self-checkout stations and the option to repair previously purchased clothes. 

Community partnerships are an important factor in Uniqlo’s brand identity and mission. New storefronts will also be hubs for community events and influencer partnerships. Uniqlo held a event recently in September where over 400 people in need were allowed to shop for winter clothing at Uniqlo stores free of charge. Over $65,000 worth of clothing was donated.

“Importantly, we do not see our stores as simply a place to sell clothing,” Shindo said. “They are [also about] the communities that we are joining. For every new store we open, we partner with local organizations where our store staff volunteers to help and where our donations collected from customers are sent.”

Young shoppers have become the company’s main target demographic, these shoppers are currently driving the company’s $6 billion in annual revenue that comes from outside of Japan. E-commerce revenues have doubled since the pre-pandemic days, but are only 20% of the company’s total revenue. Brick-and-mortar is still king.

The bulk of their growth plans will reside in China, where they plan to open 80 stores over the next year. North America is the second biggest market, with 20 additional stores planned in that region. More than 80% of the company’s gain in profits in the last year has come from North America and Europe. The company has many stores in major hubs such as Manhattan, so they will focus more on other areas that have strong retail appeal outside of those regions. 

Source: Uniqlo – Glossy
Photo Credit:  Uniqlo – Glossy

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