Japanese retailer Uniqlo set to debut with three stores in India

Japanese retailer Uniqlo on Wednesday announced it was launching three separate stores in India as part of its debut plans, coming at a time when the government proposes to ease local sourcing rules in single-brand retail. On July 5, Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had said the 30 per cent local sourcing norms in single-brand retail would be relaxed as she sought to make India an attractive destination for foreign players.


Retail industry sources had said Uniqlo would be among the first to launch outlets this year in a bid to capitalise on the environment, accelerating its India store plans, which have been in the works for months now.


On Wednesday, Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo founder and chairman, said the three stores would be located in the Delhi-NCR region and the first outlet would open its doors to consumers in October. “The opening of our first store in Ambience Mall, Vasant Kunj, followed by a second and third store in DLF, Saket, and DLF Cyberhub, Gurugram, represents a significant step in our company’s global strategy. We will offer affordable apparel wear, targeting men, women and kids,” he said.


Uniqlo has already begun hiring staff for its first store in Delhi and is also in the process of putting its backend in place. The company may also push its presence into other cities once the Delhi store launches happen, persons in the know said.


According to experts, the need to act quickly also comes as Uniqlo is looking to gain a strong foothold in India as it competes with rivals Inditex and Hennes & Mauritz (H&M) globally. To put things in perspective, Uniqlo is the world’s third-largest fashion retailer after Spain’s Inditex, which owns Zara, and Sweden’s H&M.


While the latter two have been in India for a while now and are among the country’s top fashion retailers, Uniqlo has no presence yet.

Yanai earlier had said India was a key market and it was looking to plug as the retailer steadily expanded its international operations. Globally, Uniqlo has more than 2,000 stores in 22 markets, including in markets such as the US, UK, Canada, Australia, Singapore, Russia and China besides Japan.


Uniqlo’s stores in India will also be large with the one in Ambience Mall spread over 35,000 sq ft. 


Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel