A few years ago, Uniqlo was planning to dominate America.
Lately, the company’s global domination plans have been meet with a setback: Asia’s largest retailer can’t pick up enough steam in the United States.
In its latest set of results for the first quarter of fiscal 2016, the company said that Uniqlo’s international results “fell short” of expectations.
In October, the company also announced that its results had fallen short of expectations in the United States; its expansion plans had been met with an underwhelming response from American consumers. At the time, the company blamed the problem on the fact that American consumers were not familiar enough with the brand.
This quarter, the company said that it planned to remedy that with “a new strategy focusing on new stores opening and expanding in e-commerce sales.” The company said it plans to open flagship stores in Chicago and in Boston “in order to boost awareness of the Uniqlo brand.”
But that’s just one problem the company is dealing with.
Fast Retailing blamed its most recent international troubles on the unseasonably warm weather, singling out the United States, China (including Hong Kong and Taiwan), and South Korea.
Bloomberg has reported that CFO Tadashi Okazaki has said the company would respond to this issue by releasing apparel that’s less “weather-sensitive” and by delivering its spring clothing earlier than it usually would.
This is telling of a larger problem in the apparel business — those that can’t move quickly enough might be doomed for failure.
The only safe retailers, then, are those than can adapt rapidly, such as fast fashion company Zara, the arguable winner in the apparel industry.
Zara is also on trend and rapidly churns out runway-esque designs.
Uniqlo’s clothes are generally basics. Right now, its lineup looks like it could belong at Land’s End or The Gap, the latter of which has been suffering from consistently plummeting sales.
And while Uniqlo’s Heattech was popular, consumers are enthralled with functional and stylish activewear, like the clothing available at Nike or Lululemon.
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