Uniqlo once appeared destined to take over the world.
The Japanese company was heralded for how it made men like shopping with its simple, affordable apparel, with mass produced shirts in many colours.
But now, the company is struggling — because it can’t get American shoppers to shop there.
“The U.S. market is the most important. I’m heading there today. We’re struggling now, but we’re going to rebuild,” Parent company Fast Retailing’s Chief Executive Tadashi Yanai said at an event on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
The company is particularly facing trouble as it expands beyond major cities.
“People know us in places like New York. But we’re not known in other areas. We would like people to know our products, our name, our way of thinking,” he said.
This isn’t an entirely new woe for the brand; this was the same problem the company faced in January, when the company missed expectations. Even last October, it was evident that the company was having a hard time getting American consumers to shop there, too.
This runs counter to the company’s plans five years ago; in 2011, the company embarked on a bold expansion across the United States.
Last quarter, the company blamed its troubles on unseasonably warm weathers, pointing out US, China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), and South Korea, which works against its previously praised Heatteach apparel and coats. Bloomberg had reported that the company planned to work against that problem by offering apparel that wasn’t weather sensitive.
However, it means that Uniqlo is not immune to a troubling trend in retail: that those who cannot adapt swiftly may be doomed. Both Macy’s and Banana Republic have specifically pointed to warm weather as problems in the past.
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