Popular Japanese retailer UNIQLO has opened its first location in Western Canada at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, east of Vancouver. More locations will follow as the company embarks on a national store expansion.
The 20,630 square foot Metrotown store occupies two levels in the mall, facing onto the mall’s ‘Grand Court’. The store features a range of core items for men, women, kids and babies, including signature items such as BLOCKTECH, Ultra Light Down, HEATTECH, Cashmere, Extra Fine Merino, Jeans and Oxford Shirts, as well as the Uniqlo U collection and the “UNIQLO and JW ANDERSON” collection. Men’s and women’s collections are on both floors of the new store.
UNIQLO’s Metrotown store includes a corner retail space formerly occupied by Ben Moss jewellers, as well as two adjacent spaces. UNIQLO’s lower level will be in part of the space formerly occupied by Home Outfitters.
Retail Insider correspondent Susanne Milner attended the press launch of the store on October 5, which included a Kagamiwari ceremony — a traditional ceremony held in Japan for celebrations and for UNIQLO’s store openings. Sake was served from Dassai — a sake brand from Yamaguchi Prefecture, where Uniqlo was founded 33 years ago. UNIQLO founder Tadashi Yanai explained that the retailer had received many requests to open in Vancouver. Ms. Milner provided the photos that are featured in this article.
The Metropolis at Metrotown UNIQLO is the company’s third Canadian store, following the opening of two stores last year in Toronto. In September of 2016, UNIQLO opened its first Canadian flagship, spanning 33,400 square feet, at CF Toronto Eaton Centre. A 30,000+ square foot Yorkdale Shopping Centre UNIQLO store subsequently opened in October of 2016, in the mall’s Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing.
Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants represents UNIQLO as broker in Canada, and he also negotiated the first two Toronto lease deals.
Online news publication Daily Hive reports that UNIQLO Founder and CEO Tadashi Yanai told them his company will focus its attention on Montreal, after the opening of a flagship store in downtown Vancouver in spring 2018. Mr. Yanai did not provide a timeline for the Montreal expansion or possible locations.
In September of 2016, Mr. Yanai told Marina Strauss of the Globe & Mail that UNIQLO could eventually operate as many as 100 stores in Canada.
The Metropolis at Metrotown, owned and operated by Ivanhoé Cambridge, is the largest mall in British Columbia/third largest in Canada, and also one of Canada’s most productive centres, according to a recently released Retail Council of Canada Shopping Centre study. A 2017 study is set to be released next month, and there are sponsorship opportunities available.
UNIQLO now operates approximately 1,900 stores in 19 countries worldwide, including Japan, Australia, Belgium, Canada, China, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Russia, Singapore, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, U.K. and the United States.
*All photos in this article are courtesy of Susanne Milner. As well, video below was created by Lee Rivett.