Uniqlo Co., Ltd. is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer. The company has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. since November 2005, and is listed in the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.
In addition to Japan, the company operates in Australia, Bangladesh, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom, and the United States.
Since March 1949, a Yamaguchi-based company, Ogori Shōji (which, until then, had been operating men's clothing shops called "Men's Shop OS") existed in Ube, Yamaguchi.
In May 1984, they opened a unisex casual wear store in Fukuro-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima under the name "Unique Clothing Warehouse". It was at this time that the name "Uniqlo" was born, as a contraction of "unique clothing". In September 1991, the name of the company was changed from "Ogori Shōji" to "Fast Retailing", and by April 1994, there were over 100 Uniqlo stores operating throughout Japan.
In 1997, Fast Retailing adopted a set of strategies from American retailer The Gap, known as "SPA" (for specialty-store/retailer of private-label apparel), meaning that they would produce their own clothing and sell it exclusively. Uniqlo had begun outsourcing their clothing manufacturing to factories in China where labour was cheap, a well-established corporate practice. Japan was in the depths of a recession at the time, and the low-cost goods proved popular. Their advertising campaigns also proved fruitful.
In November 1998, they opened their first urban Uniqlo store in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district, and outlets soon spread to major cities throughout Japan. In 2001, sales turnover and gross profit reached a new peak, with over 500 retail stores in Japan. When Uniqlo decided to expand overseas, it separated Uniqlo from the parent company, and established Fast Retailing (Jiangsu) Apparel Co., Ltd. in China. In 2002 their first Chinese Uniqlo outlet was opened in Shanghai along with four overseas outlets in London, England.
But sales did not go well in England, and stocks in Japanese warehouses were overflowing. In 2002 and 2003, Uniqlo profits dropped sharply. In 2004, the company began joint ventures with Japanese fashion magazines, and hired such celebrities as Norika Fujiwara to appear in commercials. They teamed up with new designers, and profits rose, including at London outlets. The acquisition of other fashion companies by Fast Retailing also helped the struggling company get back on its feet.
2005 saw more overseas expansion, with stores opening in the United States (New York), Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui) and South Korea (Seoul), their South Korean expansion being part of a joint venture with Lotte. As of year-end 2005, in addition to its overseas holdings, Uniqlo had around 700 stores within Japan. By 2006 sales were $4 billion. By April 2007, the company had set a global sales goal of $10 billion and a ranking among the top five global retailers, joining what at the time was Gap, H&M, Inditex, and Limited Brands.
Fast Retailing signed a design consulting contract for Uniqlo products with fashion designer Jil Sander in March 2009. Shiatzy Chen has been approached by Uniqlo to produce a capsule collection of ready to wear pieces to launch in November 2010 while Asia's largest Uniqlo store outside Japan opened its doors in Kuala Lumpur in the same month.
UNIQLO TO OPEN FLAGSHIP STORE IN CHICAGO IN FALL 2015
NEW YORK, July 29, 2014 – UNIQLO, the global clothing retailer, announced it will open a flagship store in the Chicago market in the fall of 2015. UNIQLO’s Chicago store will be located at 830 North Michigan Avenue in the heart of the city’s downtown area and part of The Magnificent Mile. It will be UNIQLO’s second largest store in the U.S. after its Fifth Avenue Global Flagship in New York, and marks the brand’s first entry into the Midwest.
"Chicago is a global city that’s home to some of the finest cultural and sports institutions in the world, and we are thrilled to join the city’s rich landscape,” said Larry Meyer, CEO of UNIQLO USA. “We look forward to bringing our innovative, high-quality apparel, world class customer service and modern, bright store aesthetic to the people of Chicago.”
UNIQLO USA currently has 21 stores in the Northeast and San Francisco Bay area. The brand will continue its US expansion this fall opening more new stores including locations in the Boston, Los Angeles and Philadelphia metro areas. Online shopping is available nationwide at www.UNIQLO.com. Customers can share their excitement about this new location via the company’s social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram using #UniqloChicago.
With more than 1,400 stores in 16 markets worldwide, UNIQLO offers the latest essentials for women, men, kids and babies providing clothing with innovation and real value, engineered to enhance everyday life, all year round. Since opening its first store in Japan in 1984, UNIQLO has grown to become an international leader in high-quality, casual clothing including premium Jeans (from $39.90), Linen shirts (from $29.90), Supima cotton T-shirts (from $12.90), and exceptional basics such as polos, fleece and the UT T-shirt collection. The brand’s unique and proprietary products include the AIRism collection (from $12.90) which keeps you cool and dry in warmer temperatures with moisture absorption and heat release; its Ultra-Light Down jackets (from $49.90) which come in three weights – compact, regular and standard – for all weather climates and HEATTECH (from $12.90), which generates and retains heat providing warmth and comfort in cooler conditions.
UNIQLO TO OPEN THIS FALL IN SOUTH JERSEY AT CHERRY HILL MALL
NEW YORK, July 23, 2014 – UNIQLO, the global clothing retailer, announced today that it will open a new store at the Cherry Hill Mall in Cherry Hill, New Jersey this fall on September 26, 2014. The Cherry Hill Mall store marks the second of four new UNIQLO stores opening in the South Jersey and Philadelphia region in 2014. UNIQLO is currently hiring full-time and part-time employees at all levels. For more information on open positions or stores that are now open in New Jersey and Pennsylvania.
UNIQLO has more than 1,400 stores in 16 markets worldwide. Since opening its first store in Japan in 1984, UNIQLO has grown to become an international leader in high-quality, casual clothing with universal designs that offer supreme comfort and a superb fit that aim to improve the daily lives of its customers. The new UNIQLO stores will carry collections for men, women and kids featuring vivid colors and comfortable and innovative fabric technologies, all at affordable prices. These include Ultra Light Down and HEATTECH for cold weather (from $49.90 and $12.90, respectively), AIRism for hot weather (from $12.90), the Supima cotton line (from $12.90), Linen shirts (from $29.90), premium Jeans (from $39.90) and exceptional basics such as polos and the UT T-shirt collection. Please note, assortment of product will vary by store location.
Online shopping is now available nationwide at UNIQLO.com. Using #NewUniqlo, customers can interact and share their excitement about these new openings via the company’s social media channels including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
UNIQLO is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading global Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures and sells clothing under seven main brands: Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, Theory, and UNIQLO. With global sales of approximately 1.14 trillion yen for the 2013 fiscal year ending August 31, 2013 (US $11.62 billion, calculated in yen using the end of August 2013 rate of $1 = 98.36 yen), Fast Retailing is one of the world’s largest apparel retail companies, and UNIQLO is Japan’s leading specialty retailer.
UNIQLO continues to open large-scale stores in some of the world's most important cities and locations, as part of its ongoing efforts to solidify its status as a truly global brand. Today the company has a total of more than 1,400 stores in 16 markets worldwide: Japan, Australia, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and the U.S. In addition, Grameen UNIQLO, a social business established in Bangladesh in September 2010, currently operates several Grameen UNIQLO stores in Dhaka. UNIQLO manages an integrated business model under which it designs, manufactures, markets and sells high-quality, casual apparel. The company believes that truly great clothes should be supremely comfortable, feature universal designs, are of high quality and offer a superb fit to everyone who wears them.
With a corporate statement committed to changing clothes, changing conventional wisdom and change the world, Fast Retailing is dedicated to creating great clothing with new and unique value to enrich the lives of people everywhere.