Report: Fast-fashion retailer heads to India
Uniqlo is preparing to plant some roots in India.
The Japanese fast-fashion retailer will open its first store in New Delhi by the middle of next year. It will be its first in in South Asia, according to CNN Money.
Uniqlo is focusing exclusively on expanding its presence in and around the Indian capital before considering opening stores in other parts of the country, according to the report.
The company’s expansion decision stemmed from the recent change to India’s foreign investment rules, announced in January, that allow single-brand retailers to establish their own stores in the country without government approval. Uniqlo will also have to follow government regulations that requires 30% of retail products to be sourced locally, CNN Money reported.
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SPECS spotlights brick-and-mortar
The mood was positive and the energy level was high at Chain Store Age’s 54th annual SPECS Show. The premier event for physical retail, SPECS brought together retail and restaurant executives, architects, suppliers and other industry experts involved in store design, planning, construction and facilities management.
Held at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas, SPECS featured a robust program that combined keynote presentations, a comprehensive workshop program, a dynamic exhibit floor and plenty of networking opportunities. New this year were breakfast roundtable discussions, which gave attendees a chance to delve into topics in an informal manner.
The formal SPECS program kicked off with a presentation by retail entrepreneur and investor Marcus Lemonis, the star of CNBC’s hit show, “The Profit.” Lemonis spoke to the strength of bricks-and-mortar retail and its future.
“There is always room for new ideas … always room for new concepts,” he said.
Other keynote highlights included an address by Daniel Burrus, one of the world’s leading futurists on global trends and innovation. Noted retail consultant Neal Stern, senior partner at McMillanDoolittle, took to the main stage to talk about the power of physical retail.
Retail innovation was in the SPECS spotlight at the presentation of CSA’s annual Breakout Retailers Awards. Five emerging brands — Indochino, Punch Bowl Social, Shinola, Sweetgreen and Untuckit — were honored during the awards presentation.
The educational program included more than 25 sessions, with many offering continuing education credits. The topics reflected the increased role technology is playing in all areas of store development, from design to facilities, and also covered such core topics as ADA compliance issues and how to best maintain shuttered stores.
Innovation and trends were also on the agenda, from a look at the shopping centers of tomorrow to a presentation on Walmart’s next-gen stores. A panel of trendsetting retailers participated in a special Q&A “Trailblazers” session. SPECS also offered a track for attendees interested in personal growth and development.
A new addition to the 2018 program was the SPECS Tank, during which a panel of experienced retailers served as judges to evaluate retail construction and maintenance tools, solutions and products designed by industry insiders. The winning invention was deemed the SPECS Innovator of the Year.
SPECS offered plenty of opportunities for business networking, both on and off the exhibit floor. Attendees came together for meals and evening receptions as well as at workshop sessions.
There were also one-on-one meetings during the Face2Face Information Exchange, which gave retail attendees the chance to meet with suppliers in prescheduled, time-efficient meetings.
SPECS will return to the Lone Star State next year. The 55th annual SPECS will be held from March 3 to 5, 2019, at the Gaylord Texan in Dallas. Look for updates on specsshow.com.
Shop Talk: Nordstrom, Roots, Dry Goods and Champion Athleticwear
Nordstrom made its full-line debut in Manhattan with the opening of its first-ever freestanding men’s outpost. The handsomely furnished, three-level, 47,000-sq.-ft. Nordstrom men’s store is big on service, convenience and customization. The in-store Levi’s Tailor Shop (above) offers custom embroidery on any item, along with shirt pressing and express hem services. The store also features three-hour delivery throughout Manhattan, returns kiosks, reserve online and try-on in store, an alterations/tailoring department and complimentary personal stylists. Customers with fashion emergencies can get help anytime through the store’s “24/7 express services.”
Canadian apparel retailer Roots will open two stores in the Boston area in June, at Natick Mall (Natick, Mass.) and MarketStreet Lynnfield (Lynnfield, Mass.). The openings are part of Roots’ plan to open 10 to 14 U.S. stores by the end of 2019.
Another Canadian retailer, RYU (Respect Your Universe), will make its U.S. debut this year with two locations on the opposite coasts. The brand, known for its tech-styled performance apparel for men and women, is opening a store in Brooklyn, N.Y., and another in Venice Beach, Calif.
Dry Goods, the specialty store banner owned by department store company Von Maur, plans to open 12 stores at malls throughout the Midwest in 2018.
Champion Athleticwear, the nearly 100-year-old athletic apparel brand, has opened its first U.S. store in Los Angeles. The outpost features on-site customization, allowing shoppers to design personalized Champion threads, exclusive specialized product assortments, and frequent product drops from the company’s global lines. Key materials reference the brand’s authentic athletic wear positioning and include reclaimed basketball court hardwood floors, gym lockers and metal mesh (like the mesh fabric Champion pioneered).