KUALA LUMPUR: Japan's Fast Retailing Co Ltd (FR), the operator of casual clothing chain Uniqlo, plans to roll out 10 new stores in the country by 2014, as part of its expansion here.
FR group executive vice president and Uniqlo managing director for Asia/Japan Naoki Otoma said the company wants to aggressively expand in Malaysia following the the success of its first store at Fahrenheit 88.
"Our initial plan was to open five stores within three years in Kuala Lumpur, but looking at the success of our store in Fahrenheit 88 and the acceptance of the new store in Suria KLCC shopping mall, we want to expand more aggressively," he said.
Otoma said the success of the store in Fahrenheit 88 has prompted Uniqlo to increase its target to open more stores in Malaysia. The outlet in Fahrenheit 88 is the first Uniqlo flagship store, which was opened in November last year.
He said the store performed above target in the six months to April.
He declined to disclose figures, but said "we are performing as expected" .
Speaking to Business Times in an interview recently, Otoma said Uniqlo will continue to bring the latest in Japanese clothing technology and styles to Malaysia.
"We are excited to be able to reach many more of our loyal Uniqlo customers in these great locations and we believe these stores will further demonstrate to our customers our commitment," he said.
The cost of the new store in KLCC is between 20 million and 30 million yen, (RM738,000 and RM1.1 million) Otoma said.
The new store, with a floor space of 7,862 sq ft, offers over 300 items of stylish, high quality and affordable clothing.
Commenting on the price, Otoma said the pricing zone that Uniqlo has chosen is reasonable for customers.
"Our advantage is that we are a Japanese brand, which is known for good quality and design, and we are closer in proximity to the Asian countries," he said.
The Japanese retail outfit is embarking on an aggressive expansion plan to introduce its Uniqlo stores in Asia.
"We want to have stores in every Asian country, where we see Asia has the number one growth potential and our operations in the region will become a leading revenue source," he said.
Currently, there are five Uniqlo stores in Singapore and two in Malaysia. The first Uniqlo store in Thailand is expected to make its debut this September.
After Thailand, the brand also aims to crack the Indonesian, Philippine and Vietnamese markets by end of 2012.
Since expanding into Asia in 2002, Uniqlo has rolled out a network of stores in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, the UK, France, the US, Russia and Japan.
As at the end of April this year, Uniqlo had 1,004 stores worldwide, with 161 of them outside Japan.
In the last financial year ended August 31 2010, FR recorded sales of 814 billion yen, which makes the company one of the top four apparel retailers in the world.