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Uniqlo Co., Ltd.
Type100% consolidated subsidiary
FoundedUbe, Yamaguchi Prefecture 1949
HeadquartersTokyo HQ: Midtown Tower, Akasaka Kyuchome, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Key peopleTadashi Yanai, Chairman, President & CEO
Takahiro Wakabayashi, Senior Vice President
Employees30,000 (2008)
ParentFast Retailing Co., Ltd.
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Uniqlo Co., Ltd.
Type100% consolidated subsidiary
FoundedUbe, Yamaguchi Prefecture 1949
HeadquartersTokyo HQ: Midtown Tower, Akasaka Kyuchome, Minato, Tokyo, Japan
Key peopleTadashi Yanai, Chairman, President & CEO
Takahiro Wakabayashi, Senior Vice President
Employees30,000 (2008)
ParentFast Retailing Co., Ltd.

Uniqlo Co., Ltd. (株式会社ユニクロ Kabushiki-gaisha yunikuro?) (pronounced "YOU-nee-klo"[1]) is a Japanese casual wear designer, manufacturer and retailer. The company, originally a division of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., has been a wholly owned subsidiary since November 2005, listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange.

In addition to Japan, the company operates in China, France, Hong Kong, Malaysia, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, the United Kingdom and the United States.



Origins in Japan

Uniqlo in Ginza, Tokyo.

Since March 1949, a Yamaguchi-based company, Ogori Shōji (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 Shōji" to "Fast Retailing", and by April 1994, there were over 100 Uniqlo stores operating throughout Japan.

Private-label strategy

In 1997, Fast Retailing adopted a set of strategies from American retailer The Gap, known as "SPA" (for specialty-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.[2]

In creating its clothing lines, Uniqlo embraces both shun and kino-bi. Shun means 'timing, best timing, but also at the same time it's a trend,' something that's updated and just in time, neither early nor late. The company offers clothing basics, but basics that are current, that respond to what's going on today in art and design. Kino-bi means function and beauty, joined together: the clothing is presented in an organized, rational manner, and that very organization and rationality creates an artistic pattern and rhythm. All these qualities reflect the defining characteristics of modern Japanese culture, modern ' Japaneseness.'

—Nobuo Domae, CEO, Uniqlo USA (April 2007)[1]

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, with over 500 retail stores in Japan. When Uniqlo decided to expand overseas, it separated Uniqlo from the parent company,[1] and established Fast Retailing (Jiangsu) Apparel Co., Ltd. in China. In 2002 their first Chinese Uniqlo outlet was opened in Shanghai along with 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.[citation needed] 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, including at London outlets. The acquisition of other fashion companies by Fast Retailing also helped the struggling company get back on its feet.[citation needed]

Uniqlo in Shinsaibashi, Osaka.

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. As of year-end 2005, in addition to its overseas holdings, Uniqlo had around 700 stores within Japan.[citation needed] By 2006 sales were $4 billion.[1] By April 2007, the company had set a global sales goal of $10 billion and a ranking among the top five global retailers, joining what at the time was Gap, H&M, Inditex, and Limited Brands.[1]

Fast Retailing signed a design consulting contract for Uniqlo products with fashion designer Jil Sander in March 2009.[3] 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.

Sporting events

Uniqlo 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. Current No. 1 ATP tennis player Novak Djokovic also wore Uniqlo shirts and shorts at the French Open, Wimbledon, US Open, and Australian Open, as does Japanese No. 1 Kei Nishikori.

2020 goals

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 one trillion yen from Uniqlo’s Japan business, three trillion yen from its international business, and one trillion yen from "Japan-related and global brand business."[clarify] The company’s international business target breaks down as one trillion yen in China, one trillion in other Asian countries and one trillion in Europe and the United States.[4]

Worldwide stores

Uniqlo store in New York City on Fifth Avenue.

United States

In November 2006, Uniqlo opened its first flagship store in the SoHo fashion district of Manhattan, New York City. New fashion designers have joined the store's team to boost and rebirth fashion concepts catering to the U.S. market.[5] The opening of the Manhattan store was followed in September 2007 by the closing of Uniqlo's three New Jersey locations, as well as four New York locations, leaving the count of North American stores at one.[6] In October 2011, Uniqlo opened its second and third flagship locations on Fifth Avenue and 34th Street near Herald Square in New York City. On September 28th, 2012 Uniqlo has opened its largest mall store worldwide in New Jersey's Garden State Plaza Mall (Paramus); serving as the Flagship for all of the future mall locations of the retailer.[7]

Uniqlo has announced a desire to open up to 200 stores, located in every major U.S. city,[8] It has a goal of reaching $10 billion in North American sales by 2020. Its first West Coast store, opened in October 2012 on Powell Street in San Francisco's Union Square.[9]


In December 2007, Uniqlo opened its first store in France in La Défense. On October 1, 2009, a flagship store opened in Paris close to the Opéra.


Uniqlo currently has eight outlets in Singapore as of 2012. They are part of a franchise owned by Wing Tai Holdings. Locations include: Tampines One (opened on 9 April 2009),[10] ION Orchard, 313@Somerset, VivoCity, Causeway Point, Parkway Parade, Bugis+, and Plaza Singapura.


In November 2010, Uniqlo made their debut in Malaysia at Fahrenheit 88, Kuala Lumpur in a 55/45 joint venture between Fast Retailing Ltd and DNP Holdings. It is the largest Uniqlo store in Asia outside of Japan, spanning three floors.[citation needed] Uniqlo currently has seven stores in Malaysia, all located in Klang Valley. Locations include:


Uniqlo opened in Taipei on October 7, 2010 with the opening of the Hankyu department store, which was followed by rapid expansion throughout the country and the debut of a flagship store in 2011. As a part of an aggressive expansion strategy, Uniqlo has established storefronts in cities such as Kaohsiung, Taichung, and Hsinchu.[11]


Uniqlo opened its first store at CentralWorld, Bangkok on 9 September 2011. The store, located in Central World, is Uniqlo's largest in Southeast Asia, with retail space of approximately 2,700 square metres (29,000 sq ft).[12] Later that same year stores opened in two other Bangkok locations, CentralPlaza Ladprao and CentralPlaza Grand Rama IX. A fourth store opemed in May 2012 at Mega Bangna, Samut Prakan, Greater Bangkok.


Uniqlo opened its first branch in the Philippines on June 15, 2012 at the 4th largest mall in the world, SM Mall of Asia.[13][14] They opened their second branch in November 2012, at the SM North EDSA, The Block.[citation needed]

South Korea

In November 2011, Uniqlo generated more than 2 billion won ($1.7 million) in one day’s sales on November 11 when it opened Asia’s largest flagship store in central Seoul. The sales figure was the highest ever set by a fashion outlet in Korea.[15]


Uniqlo in Sanlitun, Beijing.

In May 2011, shūkanshi Shukan Bunshun published a story alleging that Uniqlo had forced employees at its stores and factories in China to work long hours for little pay. In response, Uniqlo sued the weekly's publisher, Bungeishunjū, for ¥220 million for libel; the lawsuit is pending.[16]

Notable projects

Designers Invitation

The Uniqlo Designers Invitation Project saw the invitation of women's wear designers Phillip Lim, Alice Roi, Tina Lutz and Marcia Patmos of Lutz & Patmos, Alper, and GVGV; and men’s wear designers Halb, Satoru Tanaka, and Alexandre Plokhov of Cloak to each design capsule collections of eight looks for Spring/Summer 2007.

4 additional designers/labels were asked for the 2009 Designers Invitation Project. Women's wear saw boutique owner Steven Alan and Shipley & Halmos, while men's wear include Opening Ceremony and Gilded Age.

In October 2012 Uniqlo has teamed up with French label Comptoir des Cotonniers to create a light down formula[17] jacket inspired by the iconic boxy-cut style fusing French fashion and Japanese technology. "We wanted to use an easy sophisticated shape perfect for all elements of a women's lifestyle." said Comptoir style director Delphine Ninous. [18]

T-shirt convenience store

A store concept called "UT Project", a futuristic convenience store for t-shirts, was launched on April 28, 2007 in Harajuku, Tokyo. Each t-shirt style is displayed on forms in stainless steel display cases, with individual t-shirts packaged in clear plastic canisters resembling tennis ball cans. The t-shirts are stored on open shelves, making the shopping experience virtually self-service.

The project featured a limited-edition collection of t-shirts designed by renowned artists, designers, photographers and musicians including Terry Richardson, Nobuyoshi Araki, Bjorn Copeland of Black Dice, Kim Jones, Peter Saville, Gareth Pugh.


Uniqlock, a web-based Flash widget as well as downloadable screensaver combination of Music-Dance-Clock, was launched on June 15, 2007. Season 1[19] features four girls auditioned from YouTube wearing Uniqlo's 20 color dry polo shirt, dancing freestyles similar to ballet, with background music composed by Fantastic Plastic Machine. Blog-parts were Flash components provided so that Uniqlock can be inserted into individual blog pages. Uniqlock soon gained popularity, as shown in its World Uniqlock page. Until November 2008 there were up to 191 million clicks from over 200 countries, with up to 40,000 blog-parts in 88 countries. Uniqlock Season 2,[20] launched in November 2007, featured Cashemere Knits, with the same dancers, dance style, as well background. The movie quality was improved, and dancers would appear to be asleep if the time in the specified region is nighttime. Also in each hour special clips would be shown instead; Season 2 features 2 men playing music, doing clean up chores. In season 3[21] 20 color t-shirt promotion, 4 new dancers were introduced in addition to the original 4, switched by hour. On August 31, 2009, Season Six premiered in the new setting of Paris, France. The clock's time was also changed to display the time in Paris.

Grameen UNIQLO

In 2010, UNIQLO partnered with Grameen Healthcare Trust in Bangladesh to promote social businesses. The social businesses are aimed to address issues of poverty, illiteracy and poor sanitation, by selling clothes that the poor can afford, with profits invested in these businesses.[22] Within three years, the goal of this initiative is to create 1,500 jobs and have a total of 1 million units of production and sales.[23]


The German fashion designer Jil Sander, appreciated for her minimalist aesthetic, joined the Uniqlo in 2009, and was appointed creative director of the brand's menswear and womenswear - as well as launching a new label, +J collection, which won 2011 Brit Insurance Design Fashion Award. Sander sees a thrill in offering a utopian ideal of high-quality clothing to the masses. 'I like the concept of basic clothes in a democratic world,' she said. 'Uniqlo reminds me of Apple computers; fantastic design for everyone. And I like what is Japanese about Uniqlo, a strong sense of tradition, the orderly approach to everything, great know-how and logistics.'[24]

Store count

LocationStore counts
Japan793 (99 in Tokyo)
China177 (39 in Shanghai) [25]
South Korea90 (20 in Seoul)
Taiwan27 (13 in Greater Taipei)[26]
United Kingdom10 (9 in Greater London, 1 in Bluewater – Kent)[27]
Hong Kong16 (apm, Tai Po Mega Mall, Olympian City, Telford Plaza, TMT Plaza, Harbour City, World Trade Centre, Maritime Square, Plaza Hollywood, Citywalk, New Town Plaza, East Point City, Lee Theatre Plaza, Festival Walk, Cityplaza, Miramar Shopping Centre)
Singapore8 (Tampines 1, ION Orchard, 313@Somerset, Vivocity, Causeway Point, Parkway Parade, Bugis+, Plaza Singapura)
Russia2 (МЕГА Белая Дача, АТРИУМ)
Malaysia7 (Kuala Lumpur: Fahrenheit88, Suria KLCC, Mid Valley Megamall; Selangor: 1 Utama, Paradigm Mall, Setia City Mall, Sunway Pyramid)[28]
France2 (both in Paris)
United States5 (3 in Manhattan; 1 in New Jersey- Garden State Plaza Mall; 1 in San Francisco)[29][30]
Thailand6 (Greater Bangkok: CentralWorld, CentralPlaza Ladprao, CentralPlaza Grand Rama IX, Mega Bangna, Siam Paragon, The Mall Bangkapi)
Philippines3 (Metro Manila: SM Mall of Asia, SM City North Edsa, SM City Pampanga)


  1. ^ a b c d e Hyde, Katherine (2007-04-26). "Uniqlo: From Tokyo to New York to Global Brand". Japan Society. http://www.japansociety.org/uniqlo_from_tokyo_to_new_york_to_global_brand. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  2. ^ Nagata, Kazuaki, "Choice, chic, cheap — no one feels fleeced", Japan Times, November 17, 2009, p. 3.
  3. ^ 2009 | FAST RETAILING CO., LTD. Fastretailing.com (2010-12-20). Retrieved on 2011-02-16.
  4. ^ Kensuke Kojima (2011). Uniqlo Syndrome. Toyo Keizai Shinpo Sha. ISBN 4-492-76191-8 Tenkai Japan. ASIN: B004PYDPOK.
  5. ^ Basic Chic From Japan. But Will It Sell?, New York Times, 10 November 2006
  6. ^ News Releases. Uniqlo (2007-09-10). Retrieved on 2011-02-16.
  7. ^ press release uniqlo.com
  8. ^ Gross, Daniel (2011-10-12). "Yahoo Finance". Yahoo!. http://finance.yahoo.com/blogs/daily-ticker/japan-uniqlo-next-great-american-retailer-134422231.html. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  9. ^ UNIQLO Preps San Francisco and New Jersey with Maru, Games, the People a September 13, 2012 article from brandchannel.com
  10. ^ First Uniqlo Singapore outlet to open on Thursday. Channel NewsAsia (2009-04-06). Retrieved on 2011-02-16.
  11. ^ プレスリリース – UNIQLO ユニクロ. Uniqlo.com. Retrieved on 2011-02-16.
  12. ^ "First UNIQLO Thailand Store, Largest in Southeast Asia, to Open in Bangkok in September". fastretailing.com. http://www.fastretailing.com/eng/group/news/1105101700.html. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  13. ^ "World's 10 Largest Shopping Malls". Forbes. 2008-01-18,. http://www.forbes.com/2007/01/09/malls-worlds-largest-biz-cx_tvr_0109malls_slide_4.html. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  14. ^ "Uniqlo Philippines". Uniqlo.com. http://www.uniqlo.com/ph/. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  15. ^ "Uniqlo posts record daily sales at new flagship store". Korea Herald. 2011-11-20. http://www.koreaherald.com/national/Detail.jsp?newsMLId=20111117000747. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  16. ^ Kyodo News, "Uniqlo takes Bungeishunju to court for libel", Japan Times, 5 June 2011, p. 2.
  17. ^ "UNIQLO Ultra Light Premium Down Jacket". Uniqlo. http://www.uniqlo.com/en/catalog/001.html. Retrieved 2012-12-22.
  18. ^ "http://www.comptoirdescotonniers.com/fra/doudoune.aspx".
  19. ^ Season 1 Uniqlo.jp. Retrieved on 2011-02-16.
  20. ^ Season 2. Uniqlo.jp. Retrieved on 2011-02-16.
  21. ^ Season 3. Uniqlo.jp. Retrieved on 2011-02-16.
  22. ^ "About Grameen UNIQLO". http://www.grameenuniqlo.com/en/.
  23. ^ "About Grameen UNIQLO". http://www.grameenuniqlo.com/en/about/. Retrieved 8 July 2012.
  24. ^ "http://fashion.telegraph.co.uk/news-features/TMG6197136/Jil-Sanders-new-range-for-Uniqlo.html".
  25. ^ – Uniqlo's China website refers to 177 stores in Dec 2012.
  26. ^ "Uniqlo Taiwan store locator". Uniqlo.com. http://www.uniqlo.com/tw/store/. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  27. ^ – Uniqlo's UK website accessed 24-Sep-12 1156 GMT.
  28. ^ "Uniqlo Malaysia Web page". Uniqlo.com. http://www.uniqlo.com/my/aboutInfo.html. Retrieved 2012-12-23.
  29. ^ STORES – Uniqlo.com
  30. ^ "Uniqlo closes New Jersey store locations". Uniqlo. 2007-10-04. Archived from the original on 2007-10-11. http://web.archive.org/web/20071011011521/http://www.uniqlo.com/us/news/2007/10/uniqlo_closes_new_jersey_store.html. Retrieved 2012-12-22.

External links