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Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo to Add Stores in North America

Fast Retailing’s shares have climbed 20 percent this year as Japan’s weak currency helps to lift reported profits and the impact of the pandemic and war in Ukraine recede.
Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo plans to expand its existing stores in North America by 10 percent. (Shutterstock)

Fast Retailing’s Uniqlo plans to expand its existing stores in North America by 10 percent, according to one of its executives.

Uniqlo is opening six stores — four in the US and two in Canada — this summer as part of its expansion plan to reach more than 200 locations in North America by 2027. The company hopes to open 20 to 30 stores each year as a part of the goal.

The US stores, which will be located in malls in two California locations, Maryland and New Jersey, are in areas where the chain already has a presence.

The two Canadian stores opening in Ottawa and Calgary — the first Uniqlo locations in those cities — each total 15,000 square feet (1,393.55 square meters).

Each of the new stores will be equipped with self-checkout kiosks, in-store pickup and free clothing alterations.

Fast Retailing reported a 16.4 percent rise to 220 billion yen ($1.65 billion) in first-half operating profit earlier this month. The company also raised its full-year profit forecast to 360 billion yen ($2.7 billion) from 350 billion yen ($2.63 billion).

Daisuke Tsukagoshi, Uniqlo North America chief executive, said in an email to Reuters that the chain chose to launch the Ottawa and Calgary stores after seeing a “strong online presence” there.

The Tokyo-based retailer currently has 47 stores in the US and 16 locations in Canada.

“We’re looking to locations where we have already seen high customer demand, as well as new markets that we see opportunity in,” Tsukagoshi added.

Tsukagoshi said that localising product offerings in the US’s various regions have been “challenging” as shoppers deal with different climates and experiences.

He said Uniqlo is in a “unique position” to open stores in the current economic environment as shoppers trade down and turn to accessible pricing for essential styles.

Uniqlo has gained popularity in the US for its relatively low pricing, including women’s t-shirts for $14.90 and men’s zip-up jackets for $39.90.

Uniqlo currently has 1,028 stores in Greater China and 79 in Europe, according to its website.

For comparison, Gap Inc boasts more than 2,100 stores, including Old Navy and the Gap brand, in the US alone. However, the company plans to close approximately 350 Gap and Banana Republic locations by the end of 2023.

Sweden’s fast fashion giant H&M has more than 738 stores in North and South America as of February 2023, according to the retailer’s website.

By Arriana McLymore; Editor Sandra Maler

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