Uniqlo Hawaii rendering

Continuing its global expansion, Uniqlo will open its first store in Hawaii this fall, in the Ala Moana Center in Honolulu.

The three-level store will have about 17,300 square feet of selling space and will offer the retailer’s LifeWear collections for women, men and children. In advance of the store opening, Uniqlo will unveil a pop-up store in the center in June to introduce its brands to the market.

“Uniqlo is honored to open our new store in the Ala Moana Center, a premier shopping location, during this 150th anniversary year of the Gannenmono – the arrival of the first Japanese immigrants to Hawaii,” said Takao Kuwahara, chief executive officer of Uniqlo Hawaii. “We look forward to becoming a member of the local Honolulu community and building our reputation for excellence among local residents as well as U.S. and international visitors on holiday in Hawaii.”

The Honolulu store fits in with Uniqlo’s revamped strategy for U.S. expansion, focusing on larger stores in major metropolitan areas after initially opening in large cities and suburban malls. The Hawaii store will run independently from others in the U.S., and will be part of Uniqlo Hawaii, a subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd.

The retailer chose Hawaii because it is between Japan and the U.S. and “has a tropical climate that differs greatly from that of mainland U.S.,” a spokesman said. “With this in mind, we will offer a lineup of LifeWear that is best suited for the Hawaii market, including original products specifically for Hawaii. Our plan is to sell a mix of men’s, women’s and kids’ products, but not baby items, and we anticipate an equal balance of local residents and visitors to Hawaii to come and shop at our store.”

As for whether further stores will be opened in Hawaii, the spokesman said the focus will be on the first store and future units will be determined thereafter.

Uniqlo is a subsidiary of Fast Retailing, which had revenues of 1.86 trillion yen, or $16.87 billion, in the year ending Aug. 31. In addition to Uniqlo, Fast owns Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse Tam Tam and Theory.

The Hawaii store will be the latest in a string of Uniqlo openings worldwide as Fast Retailing’s founder and president Tadashi Yanai continues to drive the group toward his goal of becoming the world’s largest apparel retailer. Uniqlo has more than 1,900 stores worldwide, with the other new market set for this fall being Sweden.


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