Uniqlo has made no secret of its ambition to reach $10 billion in sales in North America by 2020. The question has always been: How will the company reach that goal with just three stores in New York?
“We obviously need to begin this national expansion,” said Yasunobu Kyogoku, chief operating officer of Uniqlo USA, who is leading the expansion. “We want to have hundreds and hundreds of stores.
“I believe there are more opportunities in Manhattan as well as in New Jersey and Connecticut. We’re looking at the larger Tristate area. Also, Los Angeles, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C. and other major cities are on our radar screen. In Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. there’s room for multiple stores. Our intention is to have multiple stores in each market and be present as a very prominent retailer,” he added.
Proving its national expansion goals, the Japanese fast-fashion brand has signed a lease for a 29,000-square-foot flagship at 111 Powell Street near Union Square in San Francisco. “It’s the center of innovation and hi-tech and software,” Kyogoku said of San Francisco. “It’s very important for us to be present in that market in a big way.”
Kyogoku said Uniqlo is opening a West Coast operations office in San Francisco to handle “logistics, human resources and the infrastructure one needs to put in place to facilitate expansion.” Prior to the opening of its Fifth Avenue flagship in New York last October, Uniqlo hired 50 store managers and took them to Japan for training, Kyogoku said. Some of the managers who were trained and work at the New York stores will be transferred to San Francisco. “We’re getting ready to hire the second wave of our manager-in-training program and take them to Japan,” he said.
Uniqlo said it will open mall stores and is having ongoing discussions with major landlords and real estate investment trusts.
Kyogoku admitted Uniqlo will have to build up its brand recognition on the West Coast, where it’s had limited exposure. A spokeswoman declined to say whether Uniqlo would use shipping containers transformed into pop-up stores to promote the brand in San Francisco as it had in New York. “Anything we’ve done in the past, we’re considering,” she said. “But if we were to do that, we’d try to do it in a way that’s unique to San Francisco.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
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@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)