Muji, the Japanese clothing company known for its minimalist designs and no-logo policy, will try to gain a greater share of Thailand's fiercely competitive fashion industry next year with a new pricing strategy.
Muji fashion company will import directly from China next year to cut transport and tax fees.
Satoru Matsuzaki, managing director of the Ryohin Keikaku Group, the maker of Muji products, said the company has spoken with Central Department Store, which is the distributor of Muji in Thailand, to import Muji apparel directly from its factory in China next year.
This will help to reduce retail prices of Muji products here by 15-20%, as import tax and transportation cost will be cut.
Currently, Muji products in Thailand are priced 20-30% higher than in Japan, particularly apparel, as the clothes produced in its Chinese plant are exported back to Japan before delivery to Thailand.
"With our improved logistics, it will not only help our prices go down but also make our new collections available in the Thai market about three times faster than in the past," said Mr Matsuzaki.
He said it takes about 20 days to deliver Muji apparel to Thailand compared with only seven days if they were shipped directly from the Chinese factory.
The company started revising its pricing policy for apparel because more than 90% of Muji clothing is produced in China.
But the other Muji products including beauty items are produced in Japan.
Muji opened its first outlet in Thailand in 2006, in Central Chidlom. Now there are nine Muji stores in the country.
The business in Thailand has gradually increased year by year, as it has no direct competitors.
"Zara, H&M and Ikea are our competitors, but nobody offers such a wide product range - from apparel, cosmetics, stationery, kitchen appliances, bedding and bath items to food," he said.
Muji sells more than 7,000 products. It positions itself as a reasonably priced brand, keeping prices lower than usual by carefully selecting materials, streamlining its manufacturing process and minimising packaging.
Apart from its apparel, the company plans to add more beauty and food product lines next year and open one or two new branches in Thailand each year.
The company plans to add another 50 new stores in the international market each year, along with 10-20 stores domestically.
As of Aug 31, there were 550 Muji stores worldwide including 379 in Japan, and the global total will reach 592 by year-end.
About the author
- Writer: Pitsinee Jitpleecheep
Position: Business Reporter