Japanese fashion retailer Uniqlo is picking up the pace on its Canadian expansion with four locations announced for spring 2024. It’s part of a bigger growth plan for the company which entered Canada with its first stores in 2016.
The four Canadian locations opening in the spring include three in Ontario and one in Alberta. Two of the Ontario stores will be in Toronto, at CF Fairview Mall and Scarborough Town Centre, and another Ontario location will be at Bayshore Shopping Centre in Ottawa, marking a second Uniqlo location for the Ottawa market. A second Calgary store has also been announced for CF Market Mall in Calgary.
Uniqlo said in a press release that it plans to open more than 20 stores in North America in 2024, and that could include more Canadian stores as well. Uniqlo is still conspicuously absent from the city of Vancouver, and there have been rumours that Uniqlo may have secured a space on popular Robson Street for a store.
Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants has negotiated Uniqlo’s leases since the brand entered the country more than seven years ago. In the fall of 2016, Uniqlo opened two stores in Toronto at the CF Toronto Eaton Centre and at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre, kicking off a national expansion that has seen Uniqlo become an important player in the fast-fashion space in Canada.
The Greater Toronto Area is now home to seven locations — after opening the first two Toronto stores, Uniqlo expanded by opening at CF Markville in Markham, Oshawa Centre in Oshawa, Square One in Mississauga, Upper Canada Mall in Newmarket, and Vaughan Mills in Vaughan.
Uniqlo’s first store on the West Coast opened at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby in October of 2017, and the retailer subsequently opened locations at CF Richmond Centre in Richmond, Coquitlam Centre in Coquitlam, and Guildford Town Centre in Surrey.
Uniqlo’s first store in Montreal opened in October of 2020 in the city’s downtown core at the Montreal Eaton Centre. It remains the largest Uniqlo location in Canada with over 40,000 square feet of leased space facing Ste-Catherine Street. In 2021, a Uniqlo store opened at CF Carrefour Laval near Montreal and in 2022, two other units opened at CF Fairview Pointe Claire and CF Promenades St. Bruno.
The retailer entered the Ottawa market in the spring of 2023 with a location at CF Rideau Centre. The announced Bayshore location will mark the second in the Ottawa market.
In Edmonton, Uniqlo opened its first store in the fall of 2019 at West Edmonton Mall, which was followed recently by an opening at the Southgate Centre. Calgary’s first Uniqlo opened several months ago at CF Chinook Centre, with CF Market Mall marking the second location for the brand in the Calgary market.
By the spring of 2024, Uniqlo will have 23 stores in the Canadian market, most spanning in the 15,000 square foot range. It would appear, given the expansion, that Uniqlo is targeting most major shopping centres in major cities. That means that Uniqlo still has room to open more stores in Canada. That includes malls such as CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto. And new markets could open up for Uniqlo such as Winnipeg where CF Polo Park would be the most likely target for a first location, while Halifax could eventually be targeted at the Halifax Shopping Centre or at Mic Mac Mall.
“We couldn’t be more excited to enter the next phase of our North American expansion plan and serve more customers in the U.S. and Canada,” said Daisuke Tsukagoshi, CEO of Uniqlo North America in a statement. “Stores are the heartbeat of our business, where we can engage with our local communities, hear directly from our customers, and best understand their needs to continue to improve and perfect our products. We’re looking forward to a big year ahead.”
Uniqlo in North America reported significant growth for the fiscal year ending on August 31, 2023, and the company says that it expects the strong results to continue in 2024. The company expects to achieve double-digit sales growth in its existing stores. The brand recently saw viral success with its mini shoulder bag and it has also had some successful designer collaborations.
Globally Uniqlo has more than 2,400 stores, including 53 locations in the United States and 19 in Canada. Uniqlo’s first store opened in Hiroshima Japan in 1984, and the company is a brand of Fast Retailing Co., Ltd., a leading Japanese retail holding company with global headquarters in Tokyo. Uniqlo is the largest of eight brands in the Fast Retailing Group, the others being GU, Theory, PLST, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam, J Brand and Helmut Lang. With global sales of approximately 2.3 trillion yen for the 2022 fiscal year ending August 31, 2022 (US $16.6 billion, calculated in yen using the end of August 2022 rate of $1 = 138.7 yen), Fast Retailing is one of the world’s largest apparel retail companies, and Uniqlo is Japan’s leading specialty retailer.