New York -- Uniqlo is taking a breather … but only a short one. The Japanese fashion retailer opened its seventh U.S. store — and its first in an outdoor lifestyle center location — on April 19, at Westchester’s Ridge Hill in Yonkers, N.Y. The two-level, 24,000-sq-ft. store comes on the heels of Uniqlo opening at Palisades Center in West Nyack, N.Y., in March. What’s next for the powerhouse brand that has made no secret of its intention to expand across the nation, with 200 stores by 2020?
“We expect to have quite a few stores opening for fall,” Larry Meyer, COO, Uniqlo USA, told Chain Store Age at the unveiling of the company’s LifeWear 2013 Fall/Winter collection. Meyer declined to give specifics, but said the retailer was working on completing leases for various projects. He also said he will be attending the International Council of Shopping Center’s annual RECon event this May in Las Vegas.
“Our development will be in deliberate markets on a market-by-market basis,” Meyer said. “That’s the way we will expand in the U.S.”
While the company will open more flagships “where the opportunity presents itself,” Meyer said, the chain is concentrating on locations in malls, lifestyle centers and other types of centers. Its mall footprint is about 10,000 sq.ft.
Meyer joined Uniqlo this past January. He was previously executive VP and CFO of Forever 21, where he helped grow the brand into a fast-fashion phenomenon and led its entry into Europe. Meyer’s appointment at Uniqlo was viewed throughout the industry as a reflection of the company’s commitment to the U.S. market.
“My role is to build a team that will work in concert with Uniqlo’s Tokyo headquarters and to expand the company within the United States,” Meyer said.
In addition to the stores in Yonkers and West Nyack, Uniqlo has three locations in New York City, one in Paramus, N.J., and one in San Francisco.