The Grand Opening Of Uniqlo's Amazing Flagship Store In New York City

uniqlo grand opening

Photo: Karlee Weinmann, Business Insider

Thousands of shoppers trekked to Fifth Avenue on Friday to be among the first to see Uniqlo’s largest global flagship store revealed (at 89,000 square feet, it’s the biggest single retail space on avenue).When Mayor Bloomberg cut the ribbon at noon, he said the store would add more than a thousand new jobs; and Uniqlo CEO and Japan’s richest man Tadashi Yanai — whose father started the company as a tiny menswear shop in Japan more than 50 years ago — said the opening was the realisation of his “American Dream.” 

Retail workers trained for up to three months just for the store’s opening day. We captured the moment while alongside members of the media from around the world (including many from Japan and at least one from France), and even braved the chaos once the doors were opened.

The press swarmed the storefront, and shoppers lined up all the way to Sixth Avenue

A huge corps of PR and security staff kept everything in order

Actress Susan Sarandon, who lends her image to Uniqlo's fall ad campaign, was standing alongside New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg

Greeters applauded shoppers as they arrived

Media folks waiting to get a glimpse of the store

At 89,000 square feet, it really is huge

Here's a view from the top

In the flashiest part of the store, a news ticker-like banner tells customers about Uniqlo products

These mannequins appeared to be in some kind of military formation

Uniqlo's hallmark colour coordination is everywhere in this store

Yikes -- here's the line for the fitting room

Things got a little crazy in the jeans section, where Uniqlo was selling its denim for $9.90 as a promotion

OK, it was a madhouse

One worker told us that the hundreds of staffers on hand for the opening festivities had gone through one to three months of training

Continual restocking

The store is full of corridors and nooks that make it feel like a boutique rather than the huge store it is

There were giant screens throughout the store

The stairs even lit up and changed colours

Another interesting mannequin display

The check-out lines were surprising efficient

An hour after the opening, customers were still streaming in

On the way out, Uniqlo gave tote bags to its first 30,000 shoppers

Across the street, this guy promoted the grand opening

One last glimpse before heading back downtown

It's no surprise so many people showed up -- here's just a small part of the Uniqlo advertising blitz in the tunnels at Grand Central Station

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