Japanese homewares and lifestyle chain Muji is set to accelerate its expansion plan in China, adding 50 new stores per year.
According to Nikkei, the retailer will start the China expansion in the fiscal year ending August 2024 despite the controversial Xinjiang cotton-sourcing decision.
In its largest international market, Muji is currently experiencing a swift recovery with sales in the third quarter increased 10 per cent and strong online performance. Meanwhile, sales in Europe and North America remain poor, plummeting more than 40 per cent year on year.
Due to the new Covid-19 waves in Southeast Asia, Muji’s sales in this region are also recording a drop. This could trigger the retailer to shift its focus to expand progressively in China.
“The Japanese and Asian markets are the pillars of growth,” senior MD Nobuo Domae, who has been appointed as Ryohin Keikaku’s new president, told Nikkei Asia Review.
Ryohin Keikaku estimates Muji will record approximately US$6.3 billion during the year through August 2024 with operating profit expected to reach 52 per cent growth. Launched in China in 2005, as of last May the chain operated 294 stores across the country.
Besides China, Muji is also planning to expand its presence in other Asian countries such as Thailand and South Korea.