Uniqlo plans major expansion of shops in Thailand in coming years
Uniqlo, Japan's leading fashion apparel retailer, plans to expand its branches in Thailand to 100 by 2021 from six boutiques currently, starting with its first upcountry outlet at the Promenada Resort Mall in Chiang Mai.
"Uniqlo is delighted to open its first store in Chiang Mai with Promenada. We would like to honour the strong partnership with Promenada as we strongly believe it is the ideal location to launch our store for the North, due the mall's concept, which will provide a great retail environment," Takahiro Nishimura, chief operating officer of Uniqlo (Thailand), said last week. The six existing stores are all in Greater Bangkok at The Mall Bang Kapi, Siam Paragon, Mega Bangna, CentralPlaza Rama 9, CentralPlaza Lat Phrao and CentralWorld.
Uniqlo (Thailand) has recently leased 2,200-plus square metres for a store that will serve as the main fashion anchor in the right wing of the Promenada Resort Mall. "We have prepared a certain budget to invest in our retail expansion in Thailand, both in Bangkok and urban areas. We have set up retail expansion progressively as we want Thai consumers to recognise our Uniqlo brand. We want to communicate with Thai consumers to know about our uniqueness and wearing comfort," he said.
This year will see eight to nine new Uniqlo stores, including about four by August at Chaeng Wattana and Fashion Island in Greater Bangkok, Pattaya and Promedana in Chiang Mai. Of the 100 Uniqlo stores to be opened by 2021, 40 per cent will be in Bangkok and 60 per cent upcountry. Thailand is the second largest market for Uniqlo in Asean after Singapore.
Uniqlo views Asia as offering tremendous opportunities for growth and plans to accelerate store openings around the region. As of January, Uniqlo operated over 1,200 stores in 13 markets including 23 stores in the four Southeast Asian countries of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines. Stores in these four countries continue to perform well.
The first Uniqlo opened in 1984. Since 2001, Uniqlo has ventured worldwide with retail outlets in the UK, China, Hong Kong, South Korea, the US, France, Singapore, Russia, Taiwan, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.