Uniqlo eyes market leadership by 2020

By Roderick L. Abad, BusinessMirror

Posted at May 18 2012 07:44 AM | Updated as of May 18 2012 03:44 PM

MANILA, Philippines - Japanese apparel brand Uniqlo is bullish that its Philippine operations will play an important role in its goal to become No. 1 globally by 2020.

“I can keep my expectation very high [on the Philippine market],” Fast Retailing Philippines Inc. (FRPI) Chief Operating Officer Katsumi Kubota told reporters during the announcement of the retail firm’s celebrity endorsers. “We are here to become No. 1 in this country not only for the amount of business we want [to have], but we want to become the most dynamic brand for the Filipino people. We cannot do it by ourselves. We can be only [No. 1] together with all of you.”

Kubota boasted that Uniqlo is now considered as the No. 1 apparel brand in Japan where it originated, and “partly becomes No. 1 in Asia.”

“We hope to become No. 1 in the world in 2020,” he revealed, including the Philippine market.

Uniqlo is a subsidiary brand of Fast Retailing Co. (FR), a leading global Japanese retail holding company that offers clothing under a number of brands.

With sales of ¥820 billion in 2011, FR is the fourth-largest apparel retailer globally and a leading specialty retailer in Japan, with more than 1,100 stores worldwide.

In the next eight years, Kubota said FR targets to generate ¥5 trillion in net sales and ¥1 trillion in ordinary income.

With its goal of establishing 4,000 Uniqlo stores globally by 2020, the company is set to open its first store in the Philippines on June 15 at the SM Mall of Asia.

“We want to become 100-percent ready before we enter a country. That’s why we came to the Philippines just now,” he stressed.

While Uniqlo is relatively new in the country, Kubota told the BusinessMirror in a recent interview that they are targeting to tap 5 percent to 7 percent of the local apparel market just like in Japan.

In so doing, he said they currently invest on marketing initiatives to make waves early on.

“We are spending enough amount for marketing and advertising so that we can become familiar to the Filipino market,” he pointed out.

Recently, Uniqlo launched its promotion dubbed “UT Vote & Win” which, according to Kubota, has already earned over 27,000 Facebook fans as of May 16.

He added that they have started their marketing activities like bus wrapping, and would do advertising campaigns in newspapers, billboards and some other media.

To further intensify the local market’s familiarization of the brand, Uniqlo has tapped local endorsers, such as actress and model Iza Calzado, singer and stage performer Nikki Gil, professional athlete Chris Tiu and rock singer Chito Miranda.