Fast Retailing Co said Wednesday it is considering opening outlets of its flagship Uniqlo casual wear brand in Russia and India.The Japanese clothing giant said it aims to triple its overseas sales over two years.
Fast Retailing said it will also open the doors to the first Uniqlo outlet in Singapore in the first half of 2009.
Fast Retailing founder and president Tadashi Yanai said the balance of power in the global economy was shifting to fast-growing developing economies such as China and India.
"No one can change this major global trend," he told a news conference. "You cannot achieve a global expansion without having production bases in countries like Bangladesh, Vietnam and India."
The company wants to more than double its number of outlets outside of Japan over two years to boost its overseas revenue to 100 billion yen, up from 30 billion yen now.
Fast Retailing, which owns global brands including Comptoir des Cotonniers, is also seeking mergers as part of a mid-term goal of achieving one trillion yen in annual sales.
"We have not given up the goal but we cannot achieve it without mergers and acquisitions," Yanai said.
Fast Retailing lost out last year in a bidding war for the New York department store Barneys that almost reached $1 billion, but Yanai said he was ready for an even bigger deal.
Uniqlo flourished during Japan's 1990s recessions by selling cheap yet good quality clothing, mainly manufactured in China, as years of deflation made consumers more frugal.
In 2006, it opened a flagship store in New York's Soho district, followed by major new stores last year in London and Paris.
It is unfazed by the prospect of Swedish rival Hennes and Mauritz opening its first outlet in Japan later this year, vice president Naoki Otoma said.
"They are not a threat to us," Otoma said, adding that H&M's arrival in Japan would help stimulate Japan's sluggish clothing market.© Wire reports