- Fast Retailing Co., the Japanese parent of Uniqlo, is looking to China for new growth, according to CEO Tadashi Yanai.
- An economic slowdown in China has hurt sales of luxury goods, but the market for Uniqlo’s affordable basics remains strong. Uniqlo is projecting $2.4 billion in sales in Greater China (including Taiwan and Hong Kong) for the fiscal year ending Aug. 31, up 44% from 2014.
- The company also announced a partnership with Walt Disney Co. Monday, which will allow Uniqlo to broaden its Disney-affiliated merchandise in stores worldwide, with a special focus on China. Uniqlo's Shanghai's store, its largest international location, will devote an entire floor to the new lines of Disney-themed clothing and plush toys.
The market for fast fashion has been unaffected by China’s economic downturn, according to Fast Retailing CEO Tadashi Yanai. Growth in demand for the inexpensive basics sold at Uniqlo is strong among young shoppers in the world’s largest consumer market, while sales have slipped in Western markets such as the United States and are leveling off in the company’s native Japan.
Uniqlo already has more than 360 stores in mainland China, and is looking to open 100 new stores every year, potentially up to a total of 3,000. An expanded partnership with Walt Disney Co. will help boost buzz for the Uniqlo brand in China, timed to coincide with the opening of the $4.4 billion Shanghai Disney Resort set for early 2016. The move is also seen as a way to help Disney attract a demographic typically unassociated with its themed stuffed animals and apparel, young adults.
“Young adults are a fast-growing audience for Disney in the fashion space and beyond, and Uniqlo has a strong connection with this demographic,” Paul Candland, Disney’s Asia president, told the Wall Street Journal.