Uniqlo aims to up sales with opening in Australia

JIJI, Bloomberg

Casual clothing chain Uniqlo opened its first store in Australia on Wednesday, with some 300 shoppers lining up early in an indication of high interest.

Australia is the 16th overseas market for the chain and the first in the Southern Hemisphere, except Indonesia, which straddles the equator.

Located in a new shopping mall in Melbourne, the Uniqlo store has two floors above and two below ground with a total area of 2,180 sq. meters.

The chain’s operator, Fast Retailing Co., aims to boost annual sales by five times the current level to ¥5 trillion by 2020.

Fast Retailing President and Chairman Tadashi Yanai said the company plans to open 50 Uniqlo stores in Australia in three years and 100 stores in the longer term, to meet the sales target.

Only last week, the biggest clothing retailer in Asia cut its forecast for annual profit amid slowing demand for its casual clothing in Japan. The company’s net income is estimated to be around ¥88 billion for the year ending in August — lower than its previous forecast of ¥92 billion.

The retailer is betting on overseas sales to boost growth as an aging population and sales tax hike on April 1 take their toll on sales in Japan.