Japanese brand Uniqlo is targeting to be the No.1 fashion retailer in the Philippines on the heels of a five-year plan to establish its name in the country.
“Our five-year goal is 120. By 2020, I want to have 120 stores here in the Philippines,” Katsumi Kubota, chief operating officer of Fast Retailing Philippines Inc., said at the sidelines of 17th Asia Pacific Retailers Convention and Exhibition late last week.
“We will try to be No. 1 in this country by 2020 in terms of the business, in terms of the affinity of the people,” he added.
Established in 2012, Fast Retailing Philippines is the local arm of Japan-based Fast Retailing Co. Ltd. It operates the Uniqlo stores in the Philippines.
The company opened its first regional store in Cebu last month, its 25th store. Most of its outlets are concentrated in Metro Manila.
The company previously planned to establish 200 stores in the Philippines in five years.
But the target was reduced to 120 stores nationwide including regional sites such as Davao, Cagayan de Oro, Iloilo, and Bacolod.
The Japanese fashion retailer is tapping the young and growing middle class Filipinos.
“The Philippine population is young and growing. Compared to Japan, we are old and decreasing. Of course, we can see the statistics, but being in there is different,” Kubota said.
“[For the Philippines,] I really have to touch the middle class. I cannot only focus on the upper class. I want to cater from A, B, C… That’s what we want to do here, because this is the mass of this market,” he added.
Kubota said the group will focus first on cultivating Uniqlo as a leading brand in the domestic market before bringing other brands into the Philippine market.
“For the year, we are trying our best, but we still have a lot to go so that the Filipino people would understand what Uniqlo truly is. Before we accomplish that, I cannot bring in our other brands. I’m not just selling a brand. What I’m trying to do is establish true Uniqlo first. Then, if I have such fundamental, I can bring GU and Theory and all of our brands,” Kubota said.
Being No.1 in the Philippines also means overtaking local fashion brands like Bench and Penshoppe.
Fast Retailing brands include the freedom fashion and Japanese kawaii label GU, as well as Theory, HELMUT LANG, and PLST, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam, and J Brand.