Uniqlo extends US reach

Along with its high hopes for the Asian market, Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo continues to expand in the US with its first San Francisco store due to open in autumn.

The store, spread across 29,000sqft, will be located at Powell St, taking the place of DSW Shoe Warehouse which has relocated to abandoned Borders bookstore location.

Uniqlo is also exploring opportunities in other major US cities including Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington and Boston, as it aims to double its current 10-store US base by the year’s end.

“The US is the largest economy in the world, and there’s a lot of potential,” said Uniqlo US COO Yasunobu Kyogoku.

“We obviously need to begin this national expansion. We want to have hundreds and hundreds of stores.”

A subsidiary of Fast Retailing, Uniqlo expects to achieve global revenue of US$10 billion by 2020.

For the time being, the Japanese retailer will focus on setting up standalone stores ranging from 30,000sqft to 67,000sqft each.

The expansions of foreign players like Uniqlo, H&M and Zara poses competition to homeland retailers including Gap, Abercrombie & Fitch and Sears which all announced that they will downsize their store networks and shift focus to foreign markets instead. Gap said last year that about 20 per cent of its namesake stores across the US are to be closed by the end of 2014.


Uniqlo’s San Francisco flagship will be its fourth outlet in the US after three in New York – on Fifth Avenue, 34th Street and Soho.

GB

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