Minimalist Japanese retailer Muji has announced its second Canadian location, as it plans an expansion that could see up to eight Muji stores open over the next five years. Its second location will open this fall and according to the company, it will be larger than its downtown Toronto location.
Muji’s second Canadian store will open in November at Square One in Mississauga. The store will measure 5,226 square feet, according to company representative Takashi Matsumoto. Muji’s first Canadian store, measuring 4,400 square feet, opened in November of 2014 at Toronto’s Atrium on Bay. Square One’s Muji will feature food items and children’s clothing for the first time and as well, its furniture display area will be about four times larger with more selection than its Atrium unit.
In Canada, Muji is represented by a prominent Toronto broker and according to landlords we’ve spoken with, talks with Muji continue for properties nationwide. Although Muji has indicated that Vancouver is the next market outside of Toronto, sources tell us that the company has been in talks to open in other Canadian cities as well.
Toru Tsunoda, president of Muji Canada, told Reuters that Muji’s plans to open seven or eight stores across Canada is part of a broader plan for the retailer to operate more stores overseas than in Japan within the next two years. Muji currently operates 401 stores in Japan and 301 stores outside of Japan.
“I hope to open seven to eight (Canadian) stores in the next five years,” said Mr. Tsunoda (in a Japanese language interview). “But opening one store a year may be a realistic goal because we want to open (each) new location carefully.”
Muji currently offers about 2,800 items in Canada, versus 3,500 in the United States and more than 7,000 in Japan.
Known for being innovative and its products being affordable and unbranded, Muji carries various household items, furniture, appliances, stationery and apparel. With hundreds of stores worldwide, it saves money by avoiding locating stores in high-rent areas and spends little to nothing on market research and advertising. Muji is short for Mujirushi Ryohin, or no-brand superior items, and was founded in 1980 as the private-label brand of a major supermarket chain (not unlike Canada’s Joe Fresh). Muji currently operates 10 American stores. Five are in New York City, and five are in California (San Francisco, Palo Alto, San Jose, Hollywood, and Santa Monica).