Uniqlo Opens Large-Scale Store in Tokyo’s Ginza

Kelly Wetherille

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TOKYOJust two weeks after opening its doors in the heart of Harajuku, Uniqlo will unveil another new unit — one of its biggest in the world — in the luxury shopping district of Ginza.

Uniqlo Tokyo is the third in a trio of new concept stores for the brand in Japan. Uniqlo Park opened in the city of Yokohama in April, targeting families, and Uniqlo Harajuku opened June 5, aiming to attract the area’s young, trendy shoppers. On Friday, Uniqlo Tokyo will open under the concept of “all LifeWear is here.” The store will carry the world’s most extensive range of women’s items, including many exclusive styles. It will also have a large selection of products for men, children and babies.

“We are opening this store to reenergize people amid the coronavirus pandemic. The store exists for the sake of customers, and we hope many will be reinvigorated by it,” Tadashi Yanai, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Uniqlo’s parent company Fast Retailing, said at a press event at the store on Thursday.

With an area of about 53,375 square feet, the new store is roughly equal in size to Uniqlo’s other largest store in Japan, its Ginza flagship, located only a few blocks away. Worldwide, only the brand’s global flagship in Shanghai is larger.

“The neighborhood of Ginza in Tokyo connects directly to other important locations such as Nihonbashi and Tokyo Station, and therefore connects with all of the country. Japan can be reinvigorated from here,” Yanai said. “In addition, this building was the last large-scale project in Ginza. We want to use this store to disseminate our message to customers, and to make them happy through shopping.”

While some elements of Uniqlo Tokyo echo ones seen in Uniqlo Park and Uniqlo Harajuku, others are unique to this store. At the center of the ground floor is a space called LifeWear Square, which will host periodic exhibits that detail various products and technologies used in the brand’s collections. The current display focuses on the cooling, breathable Airism fabric. A center atrium above LifeWear Square reaches up through the fourth floor, giving the store an airy, open atmosphere. The first floor also has pop-up areas to highlight different product series throughout the year.

Uniqlo has collaborated with 11 different local creatives, including makeup artists, stylists, a flower artist, and a balloon artist, on a variety of unique works that incorporate the brand’s products. The results are dotted throughout the store’s four floors, and will change from time to time. Each floor also includes a sustainability corner that educates customers on the brand’s recycling and environmental efforts. A total of 61 fitting rooms are spread across the store.

Other unique features of Uniqlo Tokyo include a UT Me corner where customers can design and print their own T-shirt or tote bag, a display of UT archives dating from 2004 to 2018, a global ambassadors corner where athletes’ replica wear is available for purchase and signed game wear is on display, and an area where customers can try on samples of made-to-order suits for men in all jacket and sleeve lengths.

The opening of Uniqlo Tokyo is also marked by the release of a special Uniqlo x Theory collaboration collection for men and women. Some styles will only be available at this store and online.

The colorful children’s section of Uniqlo Tokyo is home to the Uniqlo Kids Library and Uniqlo Drawing Club. While their parents shop, children can enjoy a selection of books or draw on provided paper or giant pads in a relaxing space just for them. Their drawings can even be transferred onto T-shirts or tote bags at the UT Me corner.

Uniqlo Tokyo, which was creative directed by Kashiwa Sato and designed by Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron, was in the planning stages well before the onset of COVID-19. And while safety measures such as social distancing, mask wearing, and hand sanitizing will be enforced, Yanai said he still thought it was important to open the store during these challenging times.

“The global retail volume of the 2020s will change, and there will no longer be an apparel retail volume. While imagining how lifestyles of people will change because of the coronavirus and what the world will be like in the 2020s, we will have to make changes starting from the company itself,” Yanai said. “Stores that exist for the sake of customers will prosper and survive, but I think others will likely go under. The coronavirus has accelerated change, but this store is to be a part of the recovery.”

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