According to Fashion Business Express, Uniqlo will add 17 new stores in China from May 27 to June 17, mainly in Zhejiang, Shandong, Yunnan and Sichuan provinces and cities, including Zhejiang Yueqing, Shengzhou, Hubei Cities such as Jingmen and Huainan in Anhui will welcome UNIQLO for the first time. At that time, UNIQLO will launch a limited series of products with a variety of city-limited patterns.
It is worth noting that this store expansion will increase the total number of UNIQLO stores in China to 888, while the number of UNIQLO stores in Japan as of April was 813, which means that China has surpassed Japan for the first time to become UNIQLO's largest market.
In fact, since the outbreak of the epidemic, Uniqlo has never slowed down its strategic layout in China. Yanai Masaaki, CEO of the parent company Fast Retailing Group, said more bluntly, "Half of Uniqlo's success is due to the Chinese market."
In the first half of the fiscal year ended February 28, the sales revenue of Fast Retailing Group increased by 1.3% year-on-year to 1.22 trillion yen, operating profit rose by 12.7% to 189.27 billion yen, and net profit rose by 41.3% to 154.382 billion yuan. .
Among them, Uniqlo Japan's sales revenue fell 10.2% to 442.5 billion yen, operating profit fell 17.3% to 80.9 billion yen, Uniqlo's international sales revenue rose 13.7% to 593.2 billion yen, and operating profit also rose 49.7% to 1003 100 million yen, 55% of which is contributed by the Chinese market. During the period, Uniqlo added a net 35 stores globally, 31 of which are located in China.
Despite the repeated impact of the epidemic, Uniqlo's warehouses and distribution in Shanghai have been interrupted in the past two months, 15% of its stores have been affected, and Tmall's sales in April fell by 33% year-on-year, but Uniqlo said the brand continued to bet on the Chinese market. The determination has not changed. Wu Pinhui, chief marketing officer of Uniqlo Greater China, revealed in an interview in early March that Uniqlo will maintain a speed of 80 to 100 stores per year in China, and all of them are directly operated stores.
During the epidemic, Uniqlo also donated sweat-absorbing and breathable high-performance clothing such as AIRism cool-sensing clothing with a total value of nearly 400,000 yuan to the front-line staff in Shanghai, becoming the first international fast fashion brand to support the Shanghai epidemic. At present, the distribution of Uniqlo in Shanghai is gradually recovering. Consumers can place orders through Uniqlo on the palm, and offline stores will also resume operations.
To further improve efficiency, Uniqlo will open automated warehouses in Shanghai by August this year to complete online orders faster. It is reported that this Chinese market project is an important part of Fast Retailing Group's global investment, aiming to better integrate into the current growing e-commerce field.
UT, which has been in existence for 20 years, has become a bridge for brands to build global cultural and artistic works.
In terms of product manufacturing and brand innovation, Uniqlo is also continuing to make deeper links with China's local cultural market. Released on April 29 with the global trend The co-branded series UT launched by the play brand Bubble Mart is mainly inspired by "The Monsters" created by artist Long Jiasheng. This is the first time that Uniqlo has cooperated with a Chinese trendy cultural brand. Bring multicultural creativity to global consumers.
When Uniqlo Beijing Sanlitun global flagship store opened in November last year, Uniqlo UT also cooperated with Chinese artist Laoshu to launch a joint work, with the theme of truth, goodness and beauty, respectively presenting "true love", "good love" and "beautiful things". The ink pastoral with Chinese characteristics is matched with ancient poems, which interprets the brand concept of UNIQLO's "LifeWear clothing is suitable for life".
As a classic category of Uniqlo, UT, which has been established for 20 years, has become a bridge for brands to build global cultural and artistic works. Cultural and artistic graphics create a cultural symbol that allows the wearer to fully express their individuality. The KAWS UT series, Uniqlo x Murakami Haruki/Murakami RADIO series, and the Louvre Museum x UT joint series are all sought after by young consumers.
In view of the fact that the trend master NIGO has switched to KENZO, a luxury brand under LVMH, UNIQLO officially appointed Japanese artist Kawamura Kangsuke as the new creative director at the end of April. Kawamura is famous for graphic design and illustration. In 2019, he cooperated with Uniqlo to launch the UT x "Dragon Ball Z" joint series, and has also cooperated with fashion brands such as NEIGHBORHOOD and BEAMS.
At the same time, Uniqlo is still exploring higher-end areas, and officially launched its first joint series with luxury brand Marni on "520". The series uses Marni's iconic plaid and printing elements, covering T-shirts, pants, Dresses and socks, some styles sold out quickly.
Wu Pinhui once bluntly stated that as a global enterprise to land in China, it must have a strong Chinese vision. After more than 30 years of deep cultivation in the Chinese market, whether it is landing at the China International Import Expo or re-locating its global flagship store in China, Uniqlo's strategy of continuing to invest in China has become increasingly clear. "We are full of confidence and expectations for the Chinese market."
What needs to be vigilant is that in the crucial Chinese market, traditional fast fashion giants such as Zara and H&M are also accelerating their pace and moving towards high-end consumers.
In the month ended May 20, Zara opened two stores in Huiju Shopping Center, Yuelu District, Changsha, and Global Commerce Plaza, Jinjiang District, Chengdu, each with an area of nearly 3,000 square meters and equipped with advanced retail technology and self-service cashiers. The device aims to bring a new online and offline integrated sustainable shopping experience to local customers.
Si Yiwen, President of Greater China of Inditex Group, Zara's parent company, emphasized that China is one of Zara's major markets. The group is very satisfied with the development of its business in China in the past 18 years and will continue to contribute to China's economic, social and environmental development as always. strength.
ARKET, a Nordic brand under H&M Group, and & Other Stories, a higher-end positioning, landed in Beijing and Shanghai to open their first stores in China at the end of last year, officially launching the Chinese offline market. Both brands have already settled in Tmall to open official flagship stores. . Another high-end brand under H&M Group, COS, has also entered Taikoo Hui in Guangzhou and the newly opened Taikoo Li Qiantan in Shanghai.
At the beginning of this year, Zara and Chinese designer SUSAN FANG launched a joint series for the first time, which was also regarded as a signal that the brand continued to bet on the Chinese market, which aroused the close attention of the market and the industry. According to the official statement, this cooperation conveys ZARA's confidence in supporting the large-scale commercial development of Chinese designers, and fully demonstrates the brand's determination to introduce Chinese design into the international trend.
Zara also reached a cooperation with Rhuigi Villaseñor, the new creative director of luxury brand Bally last week, to jointly launch the new brand Redesigning Human Uniform, referred to as "RHU", and the first series has been officially launched for sale.
Rhuigi Villaseñor said that fashion is expensive. He hopes that through the "RHU" series in cooperation with Zara, more consumers at the mass level will be exposed to his designs, and he revealed that the quality of the THU series will be far superior to ordinary Zara.
Thanks to effective product innovation, channel optimization and other strategies, Inditex Group has regained its seat on the fast fashion pyramid. In the 12 months ended January 31, the group's sales rose 36% year-on-year to 27.7 billion euros, the fastest growth rate in the group's 20-year listing, and its gross profit margin rose to 57.1%, a six-year high. EBITDA surged 58% to 7.2 billion euros, while net profit surged 193% to 3.2 billion euros.
What is certain is that both Uniqlo, Zara, and H&M have entered a critical period of repositioning, and a new round of shuffling has started again. Any slack may become the last straw that overwhelms the camel.
Yanai said in the latest interview that Uniqlo will soon return to the expansion rhythm before the epidemic, and the goal is to open 400 to 500 new stores around the world every year. Although the Chinese market is forecast to remain sluggish this year, North America is expected to make its first profit this year since 2005. In the face of global inflation, he admitted that if costs continue to rise, the group cannot continue to sell clothes at current prices.
Since the beginning of this year, the share price of Fast Retailing Group has fallen by 8%, and the market value is 6.33 trillion yen or about 335.3 billion yuan.