Tokyo: The Japanese clothing giant behind the Uniqlo brand has unveiled plans for opening new stores in Russia and India, aiming to triple its overseas sales within two years.
Fast Retailing Co. said it hoped to open a store in Russia as soon as possible as part of a global expansion that will also see it open the doors to the first Uniqlo outlet in Singapore in the first half of 2009.
The company plans to make its presence felt in India while expanding in Vietnam and setting up an office in Bangladesh to oversee its production there. Fast Retailing founder and president Tadashi Yanai said the balance of power in the global economy was shifting to fast-growing developing economies such as China and India.
The company wants to more than double its number of outlets outside of Japan over two years to boost its overseas revenue to 100 billion yen ($919 million), up from 30 billion yen now.
Fast Retailing, which owns global brands including Comptoir des Cotonniers, is also seeking mergers as part of a mid-term goal of achieving one trillion yen in annual sales.
The company lost out last year in a bidding war for the New York department store Barneys that almost reached $1 billion, but Yanai said he was ready for an even bigger deal. It flourished during Japan’s 1990s recessions by selling cheap yet good quality clothing, mainly manufactured in China, as years of deflation made consumers more frugal.
In 2006 it opened a flagship store in New York’s Soho district, followed by major new stores last year in London and Paris.