Uniqlo opened its first store in the Philippines in June 2012 in SM Mall of Asia, a waterfront site on Manila Bay. The mall is one of the world’s largest, boasting a floor area of 407,000 square meters.
Going large, Uniqlo opened a massive flagship store with about 1,550 square meters, making it one of the mall’s largest tenants, and entering the market with a bang.
Given the fact that Uniqlo brand recognition amongst Filipino consumers is practically non-existent according to the brand owner, the success of the new store in SM Mall has surprised and surpassed HQ expectations.
Uniqlo’s Chief Operating Officer Katsumi Kubota, said their vision in the Philippines is paying off. In less than five months, the brand has opened its second store, this time on the opposite side of the town at the SM City North EDSA in Quezon City.
“The result is beyond our expectation. In terms of numbers and sales, it is remarkable. In our headquarters in Tokyo, everybody starts to talk about the Philippines,” Kubota said.
The brand attributes much of its newfound success to the fact that Uniqlo’s “made for all” core concept penetrates deep into the Filipino marketplace, where there tend to be large families with varying age ranges.
This “made for all” philosophy underlies the company’s objective to provide casual clothing for all people regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, or any other ways that define an individual.
“Our advantage here is that there is no preconception. We tried to communicate well to local customers who we are, what we do and what we offer,” Kubota said, adding this approach will continue.
We can be sure to see steady growth for the brand in the coming months. The Japanese executives revealed plans to open another 50 stores over the next 3 years, showing a true commitment to growing the Uniqlo network in the Philippines.
A key challenge now is brand communication. Over the coming months Uniqlo will no-doubt need to listen and understand how to better interact with customers and tweak business operations and product mix to best suit this new fertile market.