THE FUTURE OF RETAIL CLOTHING: WILL UNIQLO TURN THE WORLD JAPANESE?

In 2006, Uniqlo re-launched its overseas expansion with the opening of its first American flagship in Soho, followed three years later by the launch of the Parisian flagship in 2009. After the init ...

Author(s):

Marie-Catherine Mars

EDHEC Business School

In 2006, Uniqlo re-launched its overseas expansion with the opening of its first American flagship in Soho, followed three years later by the launch of the Parisian flagship in 2009. After the initial international failure in 2005 in the UK market, Uniqlo has decided on a new strategy to conquer the world. The Japanese fashion brand currently plans to open 200 stores around the globe in the next five years to become the No1 apparel retailer by 2020. Uniqlo has built a strong and quite unique positioning in the business around the following dimensions: innovation, technology, fashion functionalism, casual slow fashion. This specific positioning sets the brand apart from its competitors. Uniqlo implements disruptive marketing campaigns to reach its global consumers, through an inclusive no-segment strategy. Indeed, the brand claims to be 'Made for All' around the globe. The brand also intensively uses innovative promotional campaigns focusing on social media, interactivity and original events such as pop-up stores, innovative in-store animations, and online apps. Uniqlo international success or failure will ultimately be decided on the shop floor. The recent flagships are giant, interactive experiential stores. They are considered as a crucial tool by the company to raise brand awareness, attract people in-store and comfort brand image in new markets. However, the company has to face the semi-failure of its traditional stores in overseas markets. Furthermore, competitors such as Zara or H&M are moving along, by opening large flagships all around the world. Critics are also addressing the long-term sustainability of the no-segment approach and flagship retail policy. The global consistency of Uniqlo brand image is another point of worries. Uniqlo has to move ahead of its competitors quickly to reach its future ambitious objectives.

Type: Case Study
Date: le 01/02/2013

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