UNIQLO looking to expand vendor base in India
UNIQLO, the Japanese global apparel retailer that has grown from a single store in Hiroshima in 1984, to an impressive global network of more than 2,000 stores as of now, is poised for major expansion around the world and in India. The brand’s Founder, Tadashi Yanai has gone on record to say that his vision is to transform Fast Retailing, the operator of UNIQLO, to become the number one apparel retailer in the world. Currently, Fast Retailing is the third-largest fashion retailer in the world – behind H&M and Zara’s parent company, Inditex. Practically, every other day, there’s a UNIQLO store opening somewhere in the world. And with the brand already having the distinction of being the largest clothing chain in Asia, which happens to be the fastest growing retail region, the chances of becoming number one in the world is not an aspiration but a realistic one and an achievable goal. UNIQLO makes ‘LifeWear’ – the clothing which is of high-quality, highly functional, universal in design and constantly innovate it with application of technology for men, women, children and babies. The collections reflect the Japanese value of simplicity, quality and longevity. With the company eyeing larger market share, the sourcing base is also being expanded and so are the product offerings. The good news for Indian exporters is that UNIQLO is looking for manufacturer partners in India who can work on a large scale on stringent guidelines that define the ethos of the brand. “UNIQLO is a casual clothing brand that offers high quality products at affordable prices and we are committed ourselves for high quality at the same time,” informed the spokeswoman, in-charge of sourcing and production at the UNIQLO India liaison office.
The company, which already has a major sourcing operation in Bangladesh, set up an office in Bangalore two years ago that started sourcing women blouses from India, which sold very well. This new but bankable product gave a boost to the management, designers and merchants at UNIQLO. Now they are also venturing into other products to be sourced out of India.
“We are currently working with a few partners in India and are certainly aiming to further develop our partner network here. The willingness and adaptability to change and learning new things are the qualities we are seeking. We are looking for establishing longterm partnership”, the UNIQLO representative explained. She further added: “Our systems are very peculiar; we need the factories to deliver products that adhere to our quality standards.” It’s an established fact that Japanese companies believe in 100% quality. “Our mantra is real time, real situations, real place,” she concluded.
Eventually, the vision for UNIQLO is to work together with the partners to achieve the highest quality standard and hence to grow and prosper together.