Arts & Leisure

Uniqlo opens in Makati

Posted on July 01, 2013

JAPANESE CLOTHING retail giant UNIQLO opened its sixth branch in the country last Friday, with plans to open five more outlets in Metro Manila and in Luzon before the end of this year.

A giant inflatable cube at the Glorietta Park marks the opening of Uniqlo at Glorietta 5 in Makati City.
Located at the ground level of Glorietta 5 at the Ayala Center in Makati City, the new UNIQLO branch offers men’s and women’s apparel and accessories.

“We are very happy to open this branch here Glorietta 5,” Fast Retailing, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Katsumi Kubota told reporters last week. “We always wanted to open here in Makati because this is the country’s financial hub. We are very happy that we got a chance to open here,” he added.

Fast Retailing, Inc. is a Japanese holding company that operates the UNIQLO stores in the Philippines in partnership with the SM Group of the Sy Family.

UNIQLO launched its Philippine operations in July last year with the opening of its flagship store at the SM Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

A second branch, located at the SM North EDSA The Block in Quezon City, opened last November.

Earlier this year, UNIQLO opened three outlets at SM Aura in Taguig City, SM Fairview in Quezon City, and SM Pampanga.

Mr. Kubota said five more UNIQLO stores will be opened this year, with the first one scheduled to be inaugurated in September. He, however, declined to say the locations of the new stores.

With new stores scheduled to be opened until the end of this year, Mr. Kubota expressed confidence that UNIQLO is on track to achieve its target of opening 50 outlets by the end of 2015.

Mr. Kubota said sales from UNIQLO’s first five branches have “exceeded expectations.”

Christmas sales from December 2012 to January 2013 from the UNIQLO stores in SM Mall of Asia and SM North EDSA The Block reached 300,000 pieces, he said, mostly jeans and chinos for men, and shorts and leggings for women.

Sales performance beat most of other UNIQLO stores in other countries, said Mr. Kubota, and was comparable to the sales performance of the brand’s stores in the US, where UNIQLO’s branch network is much larger.

UNIQLO’s international expansion started in 2001 in Britain, and now it has stores in the US, France, Russia, China, South Korea, Hong Kong and Taiwan. In Southeast Asia, UNIQLO also operates stores in Thailand, Malaysia and Singapore, aside from the Philippines. There are currently more than 1,200 UNIQLO stores in 13 markets around the world.

Listed in the Tokyo Stock Exchange, UNIQLO is seen as an innovator in the global apparel industry because of its various product lines that are highly functional and of high quality.

UNIQLO promotes the “Made for all” philosophy. The underlying objective of the said philosophy is “to provide casual clothing that is made for all people regardless of age, gender, ethnicity or any other ways that define an individual.”

Mr. Kubota said UNIQLO is currently in talks with London-based Filipino designer Lesley Mobo to design a limited edition line of T-shirts. The line will be launched later this year.

The company official said the shirts will be available not only in the Philippines, but in key UNIQLO stores worldwide.

“We are very happy to collaborate with various artists to showcase their designs in our stores,” Mr. Kubota said.

The UNIQLO store at Glorietta 5 in Makati City is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays. -- J. O. Valisno