Fast Retailing rushing to open more Uniqlo outlets in New York

Kyodo

Tadashi Yanai, chairman and president of Fast Retailing Co., the operator of the Uniqlo casual wear chain, said Tuesday that the Japanese retailer is in a rush to open several more outlets in the Big Apple.

“We would like to open several more shops in New York City as soon as possible,” Yanai told a news conference in New York, where Fast Retailing operates its only U.S. outlet.

Yanai said Uniqlo’s Soho outlet in Manhattan has been faring well since its opening in 2006, although its floor size — about 3,300 sq. meters — is larger than that of Japanese shops.

The head of the booming retail chain also unveiled plans to expand global operations significantly.

“We want to make sales from overseas operations four times as large as those from domestic operations in 10 years,” Yanai said, adding he will place particular emphasis on Asian markets stretching from China to India, whose combined population totals 3.6 billion.

“Asia has the No. 1 growth potential and our operations there will become a leading revenue source,” Yanai said.

On the European market, he said his company will open outlets in Germany and Spain in the near future.

Yanai said he has no plans to buy Barneys New York Inc., an operator of an upscale apparel specialty store chain. In 2007, Fast Retailing gave up plans to take over the chain.

Yanai has been named International Retailer of the Year for establishing his company’s Uniqlo casual wear as a global brand. Earlier Tuesday, he attended a ceremony for the award in New York. Yanai is the third Japanese person to receive the award.