Saturday, May 14, 2011

Uniqlo in Japan

Loyal readers of my blog would have read it
here on my encounter to Uniqlo’s Singapore flagship outlet at Tampines One shopping centre on its opening day. Uniqlo is the leading Japanese casual wear retail chain.

Queues formed outside the store long before the store even opened and this phenomenon recurred everyday for two months or so! When the store finally opened, there were even shop assistants to admit the customers by batches and the average time one spent queuing and shopping at the store could easily exceed an hour for customers.

Fast forward to today, gone were the snaking crowds and the charms of the store. The queues have long dissipated and Uniqlo is much reduced to a normal casual wear shop like one of the many Giordano shops here. So the question to ask is whether all this is just a hype or a fad? Yup, I believe it is a combination of both of the above coupled with marketing tactics.

Uniqlo is owned by the current richest man in Japan, Tadashi Yanai who is worth at least US $6 billion . It is interesting to note that Japan’s richest man carved his niche in retailing while Singapore’s richest men are in the property arena.

Coming back to Japan, on the last day of our tour, before taking the flight back to Singapore, my Dear and I were pleased to see a Uniqlo store in Japan’s Narita Airport. We have been to Uniqlo store in Singapore but to be able to visit Uniqlo at its “country of origin” is really great!
Uniqlo at Narita airport is just like another casual wear store, except that all labels and price descriptions were made in Japanese.

I love casual wear but do not like to pay a premium amount for them.