Japan's Uniqlo will accelerate its outlet expansion in Asia including Thailand in order to achieve its plan to become the global leading fashion brand by 2020.
Shoichi Miyasaka (left), deputy chief executive of Fast Retailing (Singapore), and Takahiro Nishimura, chief operating officer of Uniqlo (Thailand), announce their business expansion plan for Uniqlo shops.
Shoichi Miyasaka, deputy chief executive of Fast Retailing (Singapore), Uniqlo's distributor, yesterday said the company is set to open 142 new outlets in Asia in the fiscal year ending next Aug 31, bringing the total to 417 Uniqlo stores.
The opening in the current fiscal year has been greater than in fiscal 2011 and 2010 when it added 110 and 47 outlets in Asia, respectively.
''It's meaningful for Uniqlo after making its footprint in Thailand a year ago. We received better-than-expected feedback from Thai customers. So we plan to open another five Uniqlo outlets in Thailand by the end of August 2013, bringing the total number of stores here to nine,'' he said.
Thailand will account for 10% of the total number of Uniqlo outlets in Asia in 2020. The company did not disclose details of its investment in the Thai market.
''We want to increase the rate of new outlet openings in Asia to 200-300 outlets per year in the future, compared with only 142 stores in the original plan,'' said Mr Miyasaka.
Many positive factors have boosted the confidence of Uniqlo in moving aggressively to meet its goal of becoming the global leader in the fast retail fashion business by 2020.
Uniqlo saw a significant gain in sales and net profit in the previous fiscal year ending this past Aug 31, for international business after entering the Asian market four years ago.
Zara, the Spanish fashion brand, is currently the world's leading fashion brand, followed by Sweden's H&M (which debuted in Thailand two weeks ago), Gap from the US and Uniqlo.
Uniqlo's international sales ending Aug 31 rose by 63.4% to 153 billion (59.8 billion baht), with operating income up by 22.9% to 10.9 billion.
Apart from its strong performance, Uniqlo is an Asian fashion brand so it is confident about making products to fit the Asian market with quality and unique service.
Currently, there are 2,200 Uniqlo stores worldwide and the number is expected to rise to 4,000 by 2020. Japan and China will each have 1,000 outlets with the remainder spread across Asia, the US and Europe. Sales are expected to reach 5 trillion by 2020.
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- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter