Uniqlo Steps Up U.S. Growth

To expand chain on both coasts
Posted May 2, 2013

Uniqlo Co. Ltd. (Tokyo) has stepped up its plans to expand into the United States. According to Women’s Wear Daily, U.S. chief operating officer Larry Meyer predicted at least 20 more stores here in 2014. Just nine months ago, Shin Odake, then the retailer’s U.S. ceo (and now overseeing its efforts on the East Coast), said the company was shooting for 10 to 20 stores in two years.

“Once we get the scale, we can accelerate that,” said Meyer, who joined Uniqlo after 11 years as executive vp at Forever 21 (Los Angeles). “We haven’t done anything yet. We only have seven stores in the U.S. This is just the beginning.”

Meyer said growth will radiate from New York and San Francisco. “There’s always opportunity in Manhattan,” he said, according to WWD. Right now, Uniqlo has three stores in New York: on Fifth Avenue, on 34th Street and in SoHo.

“The financial district downtown, I would like to have a store in that market. We opened in Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus, N.J., Palisades Center in West Nyack and Ridge Hill in Yonkers, N.Y. There will be other malls in New Jersey, and we hope to be in the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, N.Y.,” said Meyer.

On the East Coast, the next wave of expansion will occur in Boston and Philadelphia. On the West Coast, from San Francisco, where Uniqlo has one store, on Powell Street, the company will expand to San Jose, the East Bay and Northern Bay.

“Everything is on the table,” Meyer said. “We’re constantly trying to reinvent ourselves. We’ll do smaller stores. We’re trying to match the store size to the market.”

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