Uniqlo Opens in Historic Building in Downtown Seattle

Uniqlo, the Japanese retail chain known for its casual clothes and simple but durable designs, is opening a new location in downtown Seattle Friday.

The retailer, with some 2,400 stores in 25 countries, is taking over a 12,000-square-foot space in a historic art deco building at 300 Pine Street.

More from WWD

For years, Uniqlo has had two other stores in the area. A 13,000-square-foot location at the Westfield Southcenter mall opened in 2015, and a 7,500-square-foot venue opened in 2018 at Bellevue Square in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Washington.

The downtown location is on the ground floor of a 1929 structure steeped in retail history. Originally, it was the home of a Bon Marché department store blocks from Pike Place Market, and later Macy’s, which closed in 2020.

Last year, the eight-story structure encompassing a full city block was acquired for nearly $600 million by the real estate firm Urban Renaissance Group and investment group KKR.

The new owners are marketing the upper floors as office space and the ground floor as the Bon Marché Collective, encompassing 85,000 square feet of retail.

“When looking at new markets, we always look at central areas that are highly visible and accessible locations for both locals and tourists. We have been looking at downtown Seattle for a long time now, but have approached this thoughtfully in finding the right location,” Daisuke Tsukagoshi, the chief executive officer of Uniqlo North America, said in an email to WWD.

Inside the new Uniqlo store. Photo courtesy Uniqlo
Inside the new Uniqlo store. Photo courtesy Uniqlo

The Uniqlo executive noted that having two stores on the city’s outskirts gave the company valuable insight into the Seattle customer and the various lifestyles of the Pacific Northwest resident. He said the store’s merchandise will appeal to residents, travelers and office workers alike.

“The merchandising mix was developed with the diverse lifestyles of the downtown Seattle customer in mind, an intentional sales floor that allows anyone, whether a traveler looking for a packable jacket or an office worker looking for extra-fine merino knits, to find what they are looking for,” Tsukagoshi explained.

He noted that the store will be carrying exclusive items for its Friday grand opening. This includes the Spy x Family UT, a collaboration with the Spy x Family anime series from Japan, which will be available in the store one week before it appears in other Uniqlo stores. The store will also carry Seattle-inspired T-shirt designs by artist Lauren Martin.

In addition, there will be clothing that uses the brand’s HeatTech, a fabric that generates heat from the body to keep you warm, and Ultra Light Down, which are warm, packable jackets for layering or travel.

Uniqlo has 45 stores in the U.S. market, but earlier this year it announced a five-year plan to open 30 stores a year in North America until it has 200 outposts in 2027.

“The Seattle Pine Street store is building on our expansion strategy to open new stores in key markets where we already have a presence, especially on the East and West coasts, while also entering new markets. Additional store openings are planned in the spring,” Tsukagoshi said.

Uniqlo is a subsidiary of Fast Retailing Co. Ltd., a large retail holding company headquartered in Tokyo. Uniqlo is the largest of the company’s eight brands. In addition to Uniqlo, there is Gu, Theory, PlsT (Plus T), Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam, J Brand and Helmut Lang.

In fiscal 2021, Fast Retailing had global sales of $19.4 billion, making it one of the largest clothing retail companies in the world.

Click here to read the full article.