Japanese Wholesale Sexy Underwear giant hot on Zara's heels
JAPANESE clothing giant Uniqlo Wholesale Babydoll Lingerie has confirmed it is planning an expansion into Australia either next year or the year after.The company's move has the potential to shake up Australian apparel retailing at the casual end of the market.Uniqlo's range would compete with Premier Investments' Just Jeans and Portmans stores, Wesfarmers'
Target and Woolworths' Big W.Fast Retailing, Uniqlo's costume manufacturer $18 billion parent company, this week announced a major drive into other parts of Asia with plans to open up to 300 stores a year. Fast Retailing president and chairman Tadashi Yanai confirmed the company had a concrete plan for an Australian launch as well."We would like to get into the Australian market. Hopefully by 2012, if not then by 2013 at the latest," he said."We have already started market research for Australia, although the business plan is not yet confirmed."We will be there as soon as possible.
If we are going to be there, corset skirts sets it is going to be a huge scale."Uniqlo, which is aiming to be a fully global brand and the world's biggest casual clothing company, said it planned to build new factories in Bangladesh, Indonesia, India and Cambodia to diversify its manufacturing operations away from China.The company has stores in China and South Korea as well as throughout Japan. Outside Asia, it operates in the US, Britain, German, France, Brazil and Argentina.Until recently, large chains such as Uniqlo have been reluctant to enter the Australian market because the seasons are out of sync with the northern hemisphere, but Zara has opened stores in both Melbourne and Sydney and there are suggestions other major players are considering entering the market.
Myer chief executive Bernie Brookes said yesterday it was no surprise Uniqlo would look to establish itself in a stable market such as Australia, but he didn't view the company as a direct competitor."Having them arrive in Australia as a competitor wouldn't be a big concern to us," he said."We were pleased when Zara came to town and located near us for the simple reason that it attracted more people into our store."He said the lack of suitable retail sites in the centre of Australian cities would delay Uniqlo's rollout."They'll be standing in line for sites of 2000 to 4000sq m in the CBD because there are not a lot of those available," he said."So it will be a very slow roll-out."