Uniqlo opens online store in Philippines as lockdown drags on

14, Jul. 2020

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MANILA, NNA – Anticipating consumer demand, Fast Retailing Co. has soft-launched online shopping for Uniqlo, its popular casual clothing brand, in the Philippines.

Many will probably welcome the launch of Uniqlo's online store not just because of additional shopping convenience but also fears of a coronavirus resurgence amid partial easing of a lockdown.

Complementing the network of 61 stores in the Southeast Asian country, the virtual store is available on Uniqlo Philippines website as well as on its app.

To be officially launched on Thursday, the store is expected to boost revenues which have been battered in recent months because of store closures while people were forced to stay at home during lockdowns to control the spread of COVID-19 infection.

About 250,000 people in one city in Metro Manila have to return to a severe lockdown after a surge in cases and deaths. On Monday, the country reported its biggest daily jump in deaths and warned of the likelihood of more fatalities and infections following the lifting of lockdown restrictions.

Since June 1, the number of infections has more than tripled to 56,259 after the government allowed public transport, restaurants and malls to open with limited capacities.

The Philippines is the fourth Southeast Asian country to have a virtual store, after Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand, a spokesman in Tokyo told NNA.

The Philippine store can deliver products nationwide. Shipping is free for a purchase of at least 2,500 peso ($51). Customers will receive their items within two to seven days. They can choose to pick them up at an outlet.

In 2018, Fast Retailing opened a Uniqlo global flagship store in Makati City, Metro Manila. The company also expanded with more outlets across the country, mainly on the northern island of Luzon which had been locked down since mid-March.

In the third quarter of FY2020, or three months from March to May 2020, Fast Retailing Group revenue fell 39.4 percent year on year to 336.4 billion yen ($3.1 billion). Operating profit fell into red, logging a 4.3 billion yen loss..

The group attributed the significant declines to temporary close stores and shorter opening hours across all its operations around the world because of COVID-19 lockdowns.

In the first nine months of FY2020 (September 2019 to May 2020), Fast Retailing also suffered heavy losses in both revenue and profit. Revenue fell 15.2 percent year on year to 1.5449 trillion yen while operating profit plunged 46.6 percent to 132.3 billion yen.