TOKYO — The fallout from last week’s terrorist attacks in Paris will likely dent Fast Retailing’s sales in France but store closures are sometimes necessary to protect the company’s employees, according to Tadashi Yanai, chairman president and chief executive officer of the Japanese company that owns Uniqlo and several other brands.
“We have subsidiaries called Comptoir de Cotonniers and Princesse Tam Tam, and they have roughly 400 stores, mainly in France. Many of those stores have been closed, and I think the sales will dip as well. Which is to say, customers in the city are not going out much, and for the safety of our staff if we need to close stores we will immediately close them and ask employees to return home quickly,” Yanai said during a press conference about Uniqlo’s strategic partnership with textile manufacturer Toray. “I think having a counter-plan to acts of terrorism is important, but as commerce people we should also concentrate on providing customers with as regular service as possible. But of course the most important thing is, as soon as we sense there is any kind of danger we immediately close the stores and get [our customers and staff] out of danger.”
Tuesday’s press conference detailed the third stage of Uniqlo’s strategic partnership with textile manufacturer Toray. The two companies first began jointly developing materials in 1999, and the partnership started in 2006. Some of Uniqlo’s best-selling products, such as its Airism and Heat Tech lines of innerwear and its Ultra Light Down jackets, have resulted from the alliance.
The third stage of the partnership will run from 2016 through 2020, when the total amount of transactions between the two companies is expected to reach 1 trillion yen, or $8.35 billion at current exchange rates. The companies plan to utilize big data on customer preferences to develop and manufacturer advanced products. They will also work to globalize production, both increasing production sites in China but also expanding their network in countries such as Turkey, Bangladesh, Vietnam and Indonesia.
“Over the next five years, we will work together [with Toray] to achieve our mutual goal of giving the worldwide business market achievements that it has never seen before,” Yanai said.