updated 25 Dec 2011, 02:51
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Mon, Oct 24, 2011
The Business Times
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Uniqlo plans 15 more stores here in 3 years
by Nisha Ramchandani

JAPAN fashion retailer Uniqlo, which is planning to set up a regional headquarters in Singapore, is looking to quadruple its outlets here from five to 20 within the next three years.

Growth will be funded by resources from its parent company Fast Retailing Co, which chalked up sales of 937 billion yen (S$15.6 billion) in FY 2011.

The new regional headquarters, which could be set up here as early as end-2011, will be the centre for the group's hiring, training, marketing and logistics activities in South-east Asia.

Uniqlo will also set up another headquarters in Shanghai to cater to Greater China, said Naoki Otoma, group executive vice-president of Fast Retailing and managing director of Uniqlo (Asia).

"The Singapore business is making good profits. Singapore has more potential than Hong Kong," he highlighted, pointing out that Uniqlo has 14 stores in Hong Kong.

Since opening its first store in Singapore at Tampines One Shopping Mall in 2009, Uniqlo has gone on to open four others at Ion Orchard, 313@Somerset, VivoCity and Causeway Point.

"We have more larger stores. That's the way we want to move forward. Bigger stores (allow us) to show the full collection and other retailers tend to have a smaller size, so we can differentiate ourselves," he said, adding that Uniqlo plans to launch new stores both in suburban malls as well as in central areas here.

Regional expansion is also in the works. Uniqlo is looking to boost store count in South-east Asia within the next three years from 12 stores presently in Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand to 100 stores as it expands in existing South-east Asian markets and enters new ones, such as the Philippines, Indonesia and Vietnam.

In the next decade, Uniqlo is targeting a total of 1,000 stores in South-east Asia, India and Australia.

"In 2020, we want to be the number one apparel retailer in the world. Currently, we're number four," added Mr Otoma. "In order to achieve that, Asia is the most important region."

Mr Otoma was in town for Uniqlo's first product showcase in Singapore, which took place yesterday at the Marina Bay Sands.

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