Uniqlo to open first store in Chicago
Fashion retailer Uniqlo is opening a new store in Chicago – and it is to be the Japanese brand's second largest U.S. store at 60,000-square-feet. The flagship is due to open in Autumn next year, as part of the city's downtown Magnificent Mile near Topshop and H&M. Size-wise it will be second only to the global flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan which covers 90,000 square feet. Larry Meyer the CEO of Uniqlo USA said:
“Chicago is a global city that’s home to some of the finest cultural and sports institutions in the world, and we are [pleased] to join the city’s rich landscape...We look forward to bringing our innovative, high-quality apparel, world-class customer service and modern, bright store aesthetic to the people of Chicago.”
There are currently only 21 stores in the Northeast United States and San Francisco, but Uniqlo will almost double this amount in Autumn when it will launch 18 new units in only 8 weeks. They are due to unveil six stores on August 29 including a Boston flagship. Meyer elaborates “those 18 stores include some in existing markets such as Northern California and metro New York”.
When giving a speech at the Japan Society last month, Meyer explained that he wanted to become dominant in the U.S., and to do so the American sales must contribute significantly to the worldwide total of $11.6 billion.
“We hired a lot of people in the last year,” Meyer continued. “We will now fill out [the ranks] below them. I want to stay away from looking at specialty retail. I want e-commerce people and big-box people, where the volumes tend to be higher. We built [a team] for the entire U.S. rollout of the first 100 stores.”
He cited the important of staffing up the company:
“It’s important that we continue to build out the teams to operate our stores. Because of our dedication to high standards of customer service, it takes a lot of time to train people and we do that as we expand. It takes time to build out those ranks. We need to be recruiting all the time.”
Meyer also reported that the Chicago branch will sell all the product categories that the Fifth Avenue flagship does, and that all new stores are to have eco-friendly designs and greener materials throughout.