Japanese clothing chain Uniqlo has opened its very first German store in Berlin, the next step in its parent company Fast Retailing's European expansion plan.
Biggest by 2020
Fast Retailing aims to become the world's largest fashion retailer by 2020, thanks to a whole range of new stores outside of Japan. The company had only last week lowered Uniqlo's turnover expectations in Japan, but it aims to quintuple its turnover to 5 trillion yen (36 billion euro). Currently, the chain is the world's fourth largest fashion retailer, trailing H&M, Inditex and Gap.
Uniqlo's Berlin store is 2,750 square metres, with three floors, which means it is the chain's largest European store. "We have big goals in Europe - we would like to have the same business in Europe as in the US", head of research and development Yukihiro Katsuta told Reuters. Uniqlo has planned another store on 25 April, in Paris.
Fast Retailing aims to get another 100 American stores in the next few years, from 17 stores now, but it has not said how many stores it will add in Europe. Worldwide, the chain has more than 1,300 stores with 856 in Japan. Large losses meant it had to close a number of UK stores in 2003 and it now has 10 stores left over there.
Inditex has 6,300 stores worldwide, while H&M has more than 3,000 stores.