In Fall 2016, Uniqlo opened its first stores in Canada. Canadian consumers stood in line for hours in Dundas Square with the hopes of getting their hands on the now famous Uniqlo products that their U.S. neighbours have been enjoying for years. Uniqlo went on to open a new location every month afterwards. For a company that took a slow and steady approach to entering the Canadian market, it is a company all about speed.
Uniqlo is planning on using fast-ER fashion to overtake Zara. Uniqlo is owned by Fast Retailing Co. and plans to speed up its delivery time to match Zara’s, along with refine its direct-to-consumer, custom-clothing sales and increase efficiency.
The Japanese fashion giant has huge goals and aims to increase its total revenue by nearly 70% to $26 billion by August 2021. However, to put the magnitude of the fast fashion world into perspective, this would STILL not be enough to overtake Zara’s owner, Inditex SA.
When Uniqlo’s owner, Tadashi Yanai, was asked about the expansion goals. He felt it was necessary to be more in tuned with the customer and what the customer truly wants. Yanai wants to live up to the “Fast Retailing” name and have Uniqlo products available to everyone and any time.
Although Uniqlo has experienced growth of more than 20% for three straight years, their sales took a hit last fiscal year causing their growth rate to slow to 6% after Uniqlo was forced to raise prices due to raw-material costs. However, the company re-committed itself to providing customers with the lowest prices possible. Nonetheless, Fast Retailing shares have fallen 14% this year so far.
Future plans for Uniqlo include moving retail locations to premium malls to lift the brand image. They will also work quickly to understand how the U.S. consumer differentiates from Japan. This is something they had struggled with earlier by stocking the wrong styles and sizes for the American consumer.
Uniqlo has potential in today’s market. It is all about getting the equation right, otherwise it’s back to the drawing board.
Until then, I will continue to be mesmerized by the ability of my Uniqlo puffy coat to be squished into its accompanying tiny bag.
Featured Image: http://japandailypress.com/tag/uniqlo/