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Uniqlo’s Fifth Avenue Flagship Deserves Attention

At 89,000 sq. ft., Uniqlo is massive — with 100 fitting rooms, 45 checkouts, 100 LCD screens, four glass elevators, and three floors of merchandise.

Japanese retailer Uniqlo will officially open the doors to its Fifth Avenue global flagship on Friday, Oct. 14. But after a sneak peak of the store, all I can say is “Wow!” At 89,000 sq. ft., Uniqlo is massive — with 100 fitting rooms, 45 checkouts, 100 LCD screens, four glass elevators, and three floors of merchandise. It feels more like a high-tech department store than a specialty store. (Click here to see photos.)

Uniqlo has a sleek, modern and high-tech look and global feel. And both are perfectly in synch with the fashions on display. The colorful merchandise demands attention, presented against a white backdrop that is accented with glass and steel. With their fast-changing, novel content, LCD and LED screens lend a dynamic pace to the store. And I loved the spinning mannequins.

But the real story here is not the store design, or even the merchandise, some of which is quite innovative (an ultra-light down jacket, for example, can be folded into a small pouch). It is the arrival of a formidable retail player — one whose inexpensive-to-moderate price points are in touch with the times — to the already competitive U.S. market. Sure, Uniqlo has operated a store in Manhattan’s Soho for a couple of years now. But that was merely a prelude. In recent months, Uniqlo has made no secret of its expansion plans. The new flagship, which is wildly ambitious in its creation and execution, just how determined it is.



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