Japanese retailer to open 1st roadside Uniqlo shop in Southeast Asia

BANGKOK, NNA - Fast Retailing Co., Japan's leading casual wear chain operator, will open its first Uniqlo brand roadside shop in Southeast Asia in March, marking a milestone in its store expansion in the region with the introduction of its successful mainstay business model at home.

The outlet, located on Phatthanakan road in the east of Bangkok, will open on March 23, aiming to capture demand in an area with about 700,000 residents, said Tomoyoshi Oguri, chief operating officer of Uniqlo Thailand Co., a local subsidiary.

A full product lineup -- men's, women's and children's wear --will be on display at the outlet with a floor space of about 1,440 square meters and 50 to 60 car parking spots. The local arm expects 2,000 to 3,000 customer visits a week at the strategic location connecting the eastern capital to its downtown area.

The popular Japanese brand has opened 35 stores in the Southeast Asian country since the first outlet opened in 2011 and boasts the largest sales among shops in the region, including those in other countries.

Operating roadside shops is a core strategy for the firm headquartered in the western Japan prefecture of Yamaguchi to expand business at home. The local unit is moving to a new phase of business in Southeast Asia's second-largest economy after operating 21 of the 35 stores at shopping malls in Bangkok, with none of them on the ground floor facing the roadside.

Thailand will be the fourth market in which the Japanese apparel retail group has opened a roadside Uniqlo shop, after Japan, South Korea and Taiwan. The new shop will enhance convenience of access and provide consumers with a new shopping experience, including in localized marketing events, Oguri said.

By April, the local arm plans to add two more outlets inside the Central Group's department stores in Samut Sakhon Province, west of the capital, and in the northern province of Phitsanulok, according to Oguri.

Fast Retailing had 175 Uniqlo stores in Southeast Asia and Oceania at the end of last November, and plans to open 40 new outlets in both regions by the end of this August, the company said. (NNA/Kyodo)