Uniqlo is embarking on the next stage of its North American expansion with three new stores.
This story first appeared in the April 7, 2015 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Slated to open in the fall is a 13,000-square-foot unit at the Bellevue Collection in Seattle and a 10,000-square-foot store at Tysons Corner Center in Tysons Corner, Va., while a 22,000-square-foot unit at The Denver Pavilions on 16th Street in Denver will bow in spring 2016.
With 39 stores across the U.S., Uniqlo has established footholds in key locations along the East and West Coasts. With the new store announcements, the Japanese retailer will have a presence in 10 markets, including New York, where in 2006 it opened its first U.S. store in SoHo. Uniqlo also operates stores in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Connecticut and New Jersey, among other markets.
Uniqlo previously said it is opening a flagship at Faneuil Hall in Boston this summer, although the company hasn’t revealed its size.
One of the largest stores in the Uniqlo fleet, a 60,000-square-foot flagship, will open on Michigan Avenue in Chicago in the fall. And Uniqlo will be heading north to Toronto, with two planned units at the Eaton Centre and Yorkdale Shopping Centre, opening in 2016.
“We’re going to places where we can access new markets and give a showroom to people and [tourists] from different regions of the country so they can access us online,” said Larry Meyer, chief executive officer of Uniqlo USA. “We’re setting up our expansion throughout the country.”
Last fall, Uniqlo opened 18 stores, the biggest number of openings in its history. Meyer wouldn’t say how many are planned for 2015, noting that there may be additional leases signed if opportunities present themselves.
With only five years left to achieve Uniqlo founder Tadashi Yanai’s oft-stated goal of doing $50 billion in sales by 2020, the pressure is on. North America’s contribution to Yanai’s objective is $10 billion in sales and 1,000 stores operating by 2020.
“We’ll be part of the goal,” Meyer said. “We’re going to do our job.”