Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo is showing the way when it comes to international retailers successfully setting up in Australia, with the brand opening its 10th store this month since venturing Down Under 18 months ago.
The international retailer has increased its Australian presence significantly since launching its first flagship store in Melbourne’s Emporium shopping complex in April last year.
The multi-million chain this week announced the launch of a new store in Westfield Chatswood in early 2016, its fifth store in New South Wales.
Uniqlo chief executive Shoichi Miyasaka said Australians have “really taken to the innovation and functionality behind our products”.
According to Fairfax, Uniqlo scooped up $33 million in sales in the first five months after opening its first Australian store in Melbourne, however, the company’s 2015 sales results have not yet been released.
Retail expert and chief executive at Retail Doctor Group, Brian Walker, toldSmartCompany this morning as a global brand Uniqlo had done well to position itself in Australia so quickly.
“I’m pretty sure the Australian opening campaign is one of the best in the world for opening campaigns,” he says.
Walker says it is a prime example of a global brand with good messaging and clear simple ranging in the fast-fashion retail space, with Uniqlo also ticking the boxes in terms of social media support, branding and contemporary design.
“It’s really on cue with branding, their messaging and products and has exceptionally good sales,” he says.
“Their pricing strategy is competitive. The Australian population has an appetite for these energetic fashion brands.”
Walker expects the retailer’s expansion strategy could see it opening potentially 30 to 50 mainstream shops in the next five years.
“Then I think it will branch into smaller format,” he says.
He says such a strategy is similar to what is happening elsewhere in the market, with retailers such as Zara.
But Walker notes there is plenty of competition in what is an increasingly crowded marketplace and smaller retailers will likely feel a further squeeze.
“Interestingly it can get to point where fast fashion businesses like Uniqlo, Zara, they ultimately become their own greatest competitors,” he says.
“For independent fashion retailers in this country the challenge grows and that challenge is not going to go away.”
SmartCompany contacted Uniqlo but did not get a response prior to publication
First published on SmartCompany on the 5th of November 2015