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Decoding Uniqlo’s strategy for the Indian market

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Japanese lifewear retail brand Uniqlo made its debut in the Indian market with its first store at Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj in New Delhi. Launched in India for the first time, UNIQLO offers a new shopping experience to Delhi customers that showcases LifeWear, the company’s commitment to creating perfect clothing that meets the requirements of everyone’s daily lifestyles.

Commenting on the opening of the store, Tadashi Yanai, UNIQLO Founder and Chairman, President & CEO of the Fast Retailing Group, said, “Fast Retailing has long wished to open stores in India in view of the tremendous potential of such a large nation. We began recruiting here at the end of last year, and have been impressed by the exceptional talent, ambition and diligence of the young people we encountered and welcomed aboard.”

He added, “In the years ahead, we aim to enhance lifestyles in India by offering more innovative apparel that draws on the nation’s distinct culture and traditions. We wish to contribute to India’s economic development in the process.”

“Launching in the Indian market is a step ahead towards globalisation. We aim to enhance lifestyles in India by creating more innovative apparel that draws on the nation’s distinct culture and traditions. We wish to contribute to India’s economic development in the process,” he further stated.

Is This the Right Time to Enter India?

Being Japanese, it is in the brand’s DNA to make sure everything is perfect before any launch. When UNIQLO was confident enough that it had reached the correct level of readiness for a new market, that’s when it decided to open stores in India.

Explaining this, Shantanu, Head – Marketing, UNIQLO India said, “Readiness has mainly three components – are consumers ready for us, is micro and macro environment favourable and are we ready to serve consumers. When we thought that all three were met, we knew that it is the right time to enter the Indian market.” The brand opted to open its first store in the Indian capital because of diversity of population and extreme weather conditions.

“Delhi is a big market in terms of population and it is extremely diverse in terms of taste and culture. It is kind of a melting pot for India as people consumers from every state live here. The other component is that our products are very high in quality and one can feel the difference only when they wear it. This difference can only be felt if one is facing extreme situations like extreme summers and extreme winters,” Shantanu explained

Understanding the Store – Ambience Mall

Spread over 3 floors and with a total retail space of 35,000 sq. ft., the brand’s store in Ambience Mall Vasant Kunj welcomes customers with its stunning three-storey high bay window façade. Interior designs vary by floor, moving from soothing elements with natural materials that integrate the Japanese and Indian aesthetic, to the high-energy LED ticker screen and stainless fixtures that convey a contemporary mood.

In addition, the new store presents a large mural on all three walls facing inside the shopping mall that capture the essence of daily life in the capital created by illustrator Dattaraj M.
Naik, while local artist Johnson Kshetrimayum has worked with embroidery craftspeople to create an installation using UNIQLO lambswool. Both artworks are under the creative direction of Hanif Kureshi.

When entering the store from the ground floor, customers are greeted by a comprehensive introduction to the LifeWear concept with a showcase featuring the latest seasonal styles. Special partnerships are on display throughout the three fl oors, such as The Kurta Collection, UNIQLO’s first India collaboration with Delhibased designer Rina Singh. Global collaboration lines include Ines de la Fressange and Hana Tajima, as well as the Uniqlo U collection created by the brand’s R&D Centre under artistic director Christophe Lemaire.

What’s New at CyberHub Store?

UNIQLO, the Japanese global apparel retailer, today launched its second store in India at DLF CyberHub Gurugram. After its successful debut in October this year at Ambience Mall Vasant Kunj, the latest store location is a one-of-its-kind concept in India that offers a premium socializing zone in the corporate hub of the city. The 12,200 square feet store will introduce a brand new shopping experience for Gurugram customers with its thoughtful designs, high-quality and functional products that are made for all. Around a thousand people queued in front of the store to witness and shop at the store opening.

Commenting on the opening of the store, Tomohiko Sei, CEO UNIQLO India, said, “We are excited to launch our second store within two months of our debut in India. CyberHub is a unique location and is a hub that brings together people from all walks of life, culture and diversities much as UNIQLO’s philosophy of Made for All. We are confident that UNIQLO’s highly functional and high quality apparel that we call LifeWear will be loved by one and all.”

Spread over two floors and with a total retail space of 12,200 square feet, UNIQLO DLF CyberHub welcomes customers with its minimalistic and futuristic design sensibilities. The store design is well integrated with the design approach of the surrounding buildings and showcases an impactful façade. Anchored by a 10-metre high ceiling, the store is an inviting space for customers. The special 2000 square feet UT corner highlights stainless steel structures and an LED ticker, running from one end to the other. A T- shaped staircase draws the pathway for easy access to the first floor where men and women wear collections are showcased.

In addition, the new store continues UNIQLO India’s Good Neighbourhood Guide endeavor, highlighting the hidden gems of local neighborhoods. This is also to showcase local community efforts and bring them forward to all our customers.

What’s on Offer

The stores carry a full line up of LifeWear for men, women, kids and babies. This includes iconic products such as the innovative and functional Ultra-Light Down (ULD) and HEATTECH garments, as well as products featuring premium fabrics like denim, cashmere, extra fine merino, and more.

Ambience Mall store also houses the UT (UNIQLO t-shirt) line, which transforms t-shirts into canvases of art expressing the individuality and tastes of the wearer. With the UTme! service customers can create personalised t-shirts with their own designs or with a range of UNIQLO stamps, including designs featuring tennis legend and the brand’s global ambassador, Roger Federer.

The Future

UNIQLO was established in Japan in 1984 and is present in 23 other countries with 2,200 stores. For now, the brand aims to work with Indian producers and strengthen its sourcing base in India. The brand soon aims to introduce one more new location in New Delhi NCR at DLF Avenue, Saket and it has recently opened its second outlet at DLF CyberHub.

On being asked about his expectations about the business in India, Shantanu stated: “My curiosity about India goes beyond just business. India is a diverse market with many languages, ethnicities and history. Our focus will be to educate ourselves about Indian consumers.”

“However, the store sizes will be different and because of the size, the range offered in those stores will be different. DLF Avenue store will span across 30,000 sq. ft. and DLF Cyberhub will cover the area of 15,000 sq. ft.,” he added.

“India is a critical market for us, and we have not restricted ourselves with a budget. Physical expansion in Delhi, outside Delhi and e-commerce are the ways of expanding our reach and we are actively working on those,” he concluded.

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