Uniqlo, the fashtech retailer, opens in Barcelona

Uniqlo Barcelona

Uniqlo, the fashtech (fashion technology) japanese retailer opens its first store in Barcelona, next Zara and H&M flagship stores. “For all major companies, starting point has to be Barcelona. We want to grow with this city of art”, has secured this Tuesday, founder of Uniqlo Tadashi Yanai (source: Turkey Telegraph). Therefore, the japanese retailer is positioned between GAP, the eternal basics retailer, and H&M and Zara, the fast-fashion retailers.

But, what is Uniqlo? What are their competitive drivers? UNIQLO, part of Fast Retailing, is a clothing apparel company, which was originally founded in Yamaguchi, Japan in 1949 as a textiles manufacturer. Now it is a global brand with over 1800 stores around the world. Redefining clothing, with a focus on quality and textiles which has been unwavered since the company’s origins in 1949. UNIQLO was the first company in Japan to establish an SPA (Specialty store retailer of Private label Apparel) model encompassing all stages of the business—from design and production to final sale.

Uniqlo store in Barcelona apparel retailer

Pictures taken inside Uniqlo´s store in Barcelona (Paseo de Gracia) during its opening on September the 20th

Value Proposition: According to Tadashi Yanai, founder and CEO of Fast Retailing, “Uniqlo is not a fashion company, it’s a technology company.”. High-quality, basic casualwear at reasonable prices.

Fast Retailing Brands: Uniqlo, Theory, Comptoir des Cottoniers, J Brand, Princesse Tam-Tam and GU.

Uniqlo´s claim: “Changing clothes. Changing conventional wisdom. Change the world.”

Mission: “To continuously provide fashionable, high quality, basic casual wear at the lowest prices in the market – casual wear that anybody can wear whenever and wherever.”

Leading Fashion Retailers Sales evolution_2000-2016

Sales evolution of top apparel retailers in trillions of yen (source: annual reports).

Read the latest results of the global leading retailers here (revenues, ebitda, net income, sales by region, stores from H&M, Inditex, GAP and Fast Retailing).

Stores: 1.795 stores worldwide including 897 in Japan. Presence in 18 countries.

Uniqlo´s customer segment: The general age range is 18-34 years old, which includes teenagers as well as individuals well into adulthood.

Assortment/Collection structure: 2 Collections a year (AW, SS) + special collections (designers: Jil Sander, Ines de la Fressange…). In 2014, Uniqlo produced 1.000 different color designs for T-Shirts. Less collection styles, but more colors than its competitors.

Uniqlo Fashion retail Heatech technology

Uniqlo´s product icon = HEATTECH, garments as thin as 0.55mm, you can keep the warmth closer than ever. Uniqlo created HEATTECH by jointly developing materials with synthetic fiber manufacturer and strategic partner Toray Industries. Another best seller product is their Ultra Light Down clothes.

Production: One of their key success factors is their production system. The takumi system is a key element in the Company’s relations with the factories in its supply chain and in upholding its product quality standards. The Takumi Team is a group of engineers with over 30 years experience in the Japanese textile industry. The Team transfers expertise to the factories on overall factory management including spinning, knitting, weaving, dying, sewing, finishing and shipping.

Uniqlo Takumi System Fashion retail Japan Fast Retailing

Uniqlo´s production system: The Takumi System

Online Sales: Online sales currently account for 5% of total sales.

Accodring to Yanai, Fast Retailing is currently transforming itself into a pioneering digital-powered apparel retailer through sweeping changes across its entire supply chain from planning and design through materials procurement, production and retail.

Fashion retailer Uniqlo Business Model

Uniqlo´s Business Model (source: fastretailing.com)

Uniqlo Business Strategy:

The aim of Uniqlo is to increase revenue to ¥3 trillion and operating profi t margin to 15% by 2020 as part of our drive to build Fast Retailing into the world’s No.1 digital-powered apparel retailer. Our three pronged strategy involves: 1) expanding UNIQLO’s growth in international markets, 2) expanding online sales, and 3) consolidating GU’s position as the Fast Retailing Group’s second pillar alongside UNIQLO.

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