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Fast Retailing still hasn't figured out how to grow sustainably in other offshore markets, including the U.S., where it missed the mark with consumers on sizing and expanded so quickly it later had to wear losses from store closures. Ditto in China, where Fast Retailing opened to huge success but couldn't keep up with rapidly changing consumer tastes.

8 Comments

Shelly Banjo, a Bloomberg Gadfly columnist covering industrial companies and conglomerates. She previously was a reporter at Quartz and the Wall Street Journal.

© Bloomberg Gadfly

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Uniqlo Hasn't figured it out yet that some people like colors other than Japan standard black, gray or white.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

GU is a subsidiary of Fast Retailing: a cheaper version of Uniqlo.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Can't speak to Uniqlo in the States directly but I like Mujirushi in Japan, however in California they sell same stuff jacked up 30-40%. Sorry but no thanks.

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I remember arriving back here in 2004, found Uniqlo and was stoked. I was slimmer then and everything fit. I am less slim now and fewer things fit. So all the points about attention to sizes in other markets are pretty valid ones.

Going to Uniqlo in Sydney was like going to Ikea - same items everywhere and prices (!!!) and Sydney is NOT cheap. To which point, Uniqlo has lost its attraction.

Styles are still OK, but the ranges are always very Japanese-ish. Sometimes that is good, sometimes not.

I like going to Niigata, Uniqlo and GU in one building, Zara and H&M in the building opposite. Kochi has only Uniqlo (across the road) - GU is 18 km away in Nankoku. Needless to say I look for clothes in Niigata and buy my pants across the road.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I've wondered about this also. Much of my Uniqlo purchases are for the functional clothes, like items made from heat-tec and wicking fabrics, to deal with Japan's onerous climate and lightly insulated homes. These items aren't such a big deal in countries with milder climates and better designed housing, I've noticed

Agreed. Actually though... one thing I usually take home with me when I go back over the Winter is my blocktech fleece. I haven't had a better jacket for blocking the cold southerlies we get back home even in Summer. Everything else comes down to convenience... linen shirts, chinos for work etc... life is a little easier with Uniqlo.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I found GU to be cheaper and a nicer selection, Uniqlo got pricey and selection dropped.

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When she talks about sizing, does that mean that UNIQLO didn't offer their US customers the usual XXXL size that they have come to expect at Walmart and the like?

In Japan UNIQLO has the market all to themselves in many places. They are the only store selling things fairly reasonably and as Jeff Lee said, that suits this market. But in the US, consumers have tons of choices, so UNIQLO will be in for a much bigger battle for customers.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

I've wondered about this also. Much of my Uniqlo purchases are for the functional clothes, like items made from heat-tec and wicking fabrics, to deal with Japan's onerous climate and lightly insulated homes. These items aren't such a big deal in countries with milder climates and better designed housing, I've noticed.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

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