UNIQLO

UNIQLO

Uniqlo Co., is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer. The company was originally a division of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd.. On November 1, 2005, it was restructured as a separate wholly owned subsidiary called Uniqlo Co., Ltd., which is listed on the first section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange

Uniqlo is Japan's leading clothing retail chain in terms of both sales and profits. The company also operates in China, France, Hong Kong, Malaysia, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.

History

1949–1994: rise in Japan

Since March 1949, a Yamaguchi-based company, Ogori Shoji (which, until then, had been operating men's clothing shops called "Men's Shop OS") existed in Ube, Yamaguchi.

In May 1985, they opened a unisex casual wear store in Fukuro-machi, Naka-ku, Hiroshima under the name "Unique Clothing Warehouse". It was at this time that the name "Uniqlo" was born, as a contraction of "unique clothing". In September 1991, the name of the company was changed from "Ogori Shoji" to "Fast Retailing", and by April 1994, there were over 100 Uniqlo stores operating throughout Japan.

1997: "SPA" strategy

In 1997, they adopted a set of strategies from American retailing giant The Gap, known as "SPA" (Speciality-store/retailer of Private-label Apparel), meaning that they would produce their own clothing and sell it exclusively. Uniqlo had begun outsourcing their clothing manufacturing to factories in China where labour was cheap, a well-established corporate practice. Japan was in the depths of a recession at the time, and the low cost, high-quality goods proved popular. Their advertising campaigns also proved fruitful.

In November 1998, they opened their first urban Uniqlo store in Tokyo’s trendy Harajuku district, and outlets soon spread to major cities throughout Japan. In 2001, sales turnover and gross profit reached a new peak, and with over 500 retail stores in Japan, Uniqlo decided to expand overseas, establishing Fast Retailing (Jiangsu) Apparel Co., Ltd. in China (and in 2002, opening their first Chinese Uniqlo outlet in Shanghai) and opening their first four overseas outlets in London, England.

But sales did not go well in England, and stocks in Japanese warehouses were overflowing. In 2002 and 2003, Uniqlo profits dropped sharply. In 2004, the company began joint ventures with Japanese fashion magazines, and hired such celebrities as Norika Fujiwara to appear in commercials. They teamed up with new designers, and profits rose (their London outlets also finally entered the black). The acquisition of other fashion companies by Fast Retailing also helped the struggling company get back on its feet.

2005 saw more overseas expansion, with stores opening in the United States (New York), Hong Kong (Tsim Sha Tsui) and South Korea (Seoul), their South Korean expansion being part of a joint venture with Lotte. By 2006, Uniqlo was looking into expansion into Europe after a re-launch in the UK stabilized profits. As of year-end 2005, in addition to its overseas holdings, Uniqlo had around 700 stores within Japan. Fast Retailing signed a design consulting contract for UNIQLO products with fashion designer Jil Sander in March 2009. Shiatzy Chen has been approached by UNIQLO to produce a capsule collection of ready to wear pieces to launch in November 2010 while Asia's largest Uniqlo store outside Japan opened its doors in Kuala Lumpur in the same month.

On September 2, 2009, Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. announced that the company would target annual group sales of 5 trillion yen (about 61.2 billion US dollars) and pretax profit from operations of 1 trillion yen (about 12.2 billion US dollars) by 2020. This means that the company is aiming to become the world’s biggest SPA with a continuous growth rate of 20% per year. The figure breaks down as 1 trillion yen from Uniqlo’s Japan business, 3 trillion yen from its international business, and 1 trillion yen from Japan-related and global brand business. The company’s international business target of 3 trillion yen breaks down as 1 trillion yen in China, 1 trillion yen in other Asian countries and 1 trillion yen in Europe and the United States.

Olympic and J. League uniforms.Uniqlo also furnished the uniforms for Japan's Olympic athletes in the 1998, 2002, and 2004 Olympic Games, as well as the uniforms for J.League's Thespa Kusatsu team.

Company Size and Presence

UNIQLO international has 234 stores as of January 2012. There are 30000 employers in the company. (in 2008)

Company Contact Details

Tokyo HQ:
Midtown Tower,
Akasaka Kyuchome,
Minato,
Tokyo,
Japan.

Product Range

Retail of UNIQLO casual brand clothing in the USA.

Has the buyer sourced from Sri Lanka before?

No

Trade Fairs that the buyer frequently visits

No

Purchasing Arrangements

UNIQLO secures a stable, high-volume supply of top-quality materials at low cost by negotiating directly with materials manufacturers. The development of materials is especially important for core products. We source denim to specific spinning standards and dyeing specifications from the industry's reputed Kaihara Corporation. We develop new functional materials, such as HEATTECH and Silky Dry, with synthetic fiber maker Toray Industries, Inc.

We can work with materials manufacturers in this way because we produce over 600 million items annually.

Merchandisers play a vital role from product planning through production. Having met with the R&D designers, merchandisers then apply the concepts for each season in product plans, materials and designs.

Next, merchandisers decide the product lineup and volume for each season, paying close attention to a detailed marketing strategy.

One other important task for merchandisers is to decide when to increase or reduce production during a season. Decisions to adjust production in line with demand are taken jointly with the product planning department.

The Inventory Control Department maintains the optimum level of store inventory by monitoring sales and stock on a weekly basis, and dispatching necessary inventory and new products to fulfill orders.

At the end of each season, merchandisers and the Marketing Department help coordinate the timing of markdowns and limited-period sales (20-30% off the regular price) to ensure that inventory is sold out.

Buyer’s values

UNIQLO carries out numerous projects to improve customer service and satisfaction. Positive customer feedback related to our stores and employees is converted into points. Every month, on the basis of this point system, stores and staff are given CS Store Awards and CS Staff Awards for providing outstanding service. In 2010, 947 employees were given the awards. We expect employees who have received the awards to continue excelling and acting as role models for others working on projects that will drive customer satisfaction forward.

CSR actions of the UNIQLO

  • Uniqlo launches Recovery project in Japan’s Tohoku Region
  • Uniqlo to donate 3500 fleece products for the 2012 special Olympics Japan National Winter games.
  • Uniqlo launches Scholarship program in China.

Information Sources

Company website :www.uniqlo.co.jp

STORE LOCATORS OF UNIQLO

USA store locators

31 West 34th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues,
New York,
NY 10001
666 5th Avenue at 53rd Street,
New York,
NY 10103
546 Broadway,
New York,
NY 10012 USA

UK store locators

Westfield Stratford city (First floor),
Leyton road,
Stratford, London
London, E20 1EQ

Tel: 1-877-486-4756

Unit U073A,
Upper Thames Walk,
Bluewater, Dartford
Kent, DA9 9SR

Malaysia Store locator

Fahrenheit 88,
Lot G1.01.00, Ground Floor,
179, Jalan Bukit Bintang55100 Kuala Lumpur.

Tel: +603 2145 8852

France store locator

Centre Commercial less 4 temps,
Niveau 1 Niveau 2,
Accès par le parvis.