Uniqlo reportedly plans to expand its North American footprint by 10% by opening 20 to 30 stores annually to reach 200 locations by 2027, Daisuke Tsukagoshi, CEO of Uniqlo North America told Reuters. The Japanese retailer currently has 47 stores in the U.S. and 16 locations in Canada, and Tsukagoshi noted that it is looking to open more “where we have already seen high customer demand, as well as new markets that we see opportunity in.”
The first four U.S. stores will be opened in areas where the fast fashion retailer already has a presence, with two slated for California and one each for Maryland and New Jersey. Uniqlo also will open Canadian locations in Ottawa and Calgary, marking the brand’s entry into those cities, though the brand already has a “strong online presence” in those markets. Each new store will feature self-checkout kiosks, in-store pickup and free clothing alterations.
Localizing products for the diverse U.S. geography has been “challenging” due to shoppers dealing with different climates and experiences, according to Tsukagoshi. However, he also said that Uniqlo is in a “unique position” for expansion due to an economic environment that is causing shoppers to trade down and put an emphasis on price and value. The retailer’s relatively low pricing, such as women’s T-shirts for $14.90 and men’s zip-up jackets for $39.90, could give it an advantage.
However, Uniqlo remains a very small player in the U.S. market, although the company is a major force in the rest of the world with more than 2,300 stores globally. In the Americas Uniqlo competes with Gap’s more than 2,100 stores across its multiple banners and fellow international retailer H&M’s 738 locations.
Uniqlo’s parent company Fast Retailing also tested out one of its other brands, GU, with a pop-up shop in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood in fall 2022. The company is seeking to expand its global presence with “prime locations in major global cities,” according to an April 2022 statement.