Uniqlo to Expand Into the Canadian Retail Market

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Uniqlo to Expand Into the Canadian Retail Market

Uniqlo, the Japanese clothing giant, is trying its luck in one of the trickiest markets out there.

The store is set to open two stores in Toronto, Canada in late 2016, making the Great North White its 18th market worldwide. The two flagship stores will be located at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Toronto Eaton Centre. Uniqlo also expressed plans to expand in Vancouver later.

The move is said to be part of the company’s long-term plan to diversify its market, although its biggest market remains its homeland. The fast-fashion retailer now has 1,500 stores in various countries, including China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Russia, the US and the UK.

Uniqlo has also recently entered the Australian market, having opened stores in Melbourne, Victoria and Sydney’s Pitt Street Mall.

With its stronghold in the retail industry, Uniqlo is not diving into a new international market unprepared. Aware of the pitfalls that have bedevilled many retailers, the company says it will be strategic with its expansion.

Many major chains have tried and failed to incorporate themselves into the Canadian market. After two unsuccessful years and $7 billion revenue loss, Target has abandoned the Canadian market completely, even though its downfall was mainly due to uninspired merchandise, poor store locations, and a lofty ambition to open 124 stores at once. J.Crew also struggled, although not as devastatingly as Target.

Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA and Canada, thinks Uniqlo will not follow the disastrous path of Target.

“My past has shown Canadians to be open people and very willing to welcome new brands,” Meyer said. “I believe we have unique products with Uniqlo. We’re not just a mass merchandiser of branded goods. Our products are our brand.”

Uniqlo is well-loved for its exceptionally comfortable, stylish and affordable apparel engineered to perform well in different weather conditions and climates.

The brand’s successful retail chains in Australia, particularly its MidCity Centre outlet at Pitt Street, prove its potential for international expansion. Perhaps Canada will be a good move after all.

April 25, 2015 |

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