Uniqlo launches expansion plan with new store in downtown Seattle – WWD

ByShannon J. Cortes

Nov 17, 2022

Uniqlothe Japaneses detail chain known for its casual wear and simple yet durable designs, is opening a new location in downtown Seattle on Friday.

The retailer, with some 2,400 stores in 25 countries, supports 12,000 square feet of space in a historic art deco building at 300 Pine Street.

For years, Uniqlo had two other stores in the area. A 13,000 square foot location at the Westfield Southcenter mall opened in 2015 and a 7,500 square foot site opened in 2018 at Bellevue Square in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue, Washington.

The downtown location is on the ground floor of a 1929 structure steeped in detail the story. Originally the home of a Bon Marché department store a few blocks from Pike Place Market, and later Macy’swhich closed in 2020.

Last year, the eight-story structure encompassing an entire city block was acquired for nearly $600 million by real estate firm Urban Renaissance Group and investment group KKR.

The new owners market the upper floors as offices and the ground floor as Bon Marché Collectif, encompassing 85,000 square feet of retail space.

“When looking at new markets, we always look at central areas which are very visible and accessible places for both locals and tourists. We’ve been looking at downtown Seattle for a long time now, but we approached this thoughtfully to find the right location,” Daisuke Tsukagoshi, General Manager of Uniqlo North America, said in an email to WWD.

The Uniqlo executive noted that having two stores on the outskirts of town has given the company valuable insight into the Seattle shopper and the different lifestyles of the Pacific Northwest resident. He said the store’s merchandise will appeal to residents, travelers and office workers.

“The merchandising mix was developed with the diverse lifestyles of downtown Seattle customers in mind, an intentional retail surface that allows anyone, whether a traveler looking for a packable jacket or an office worker looking for extra-fine merino knits, to find what they are looking for,” explained Tsukagoshi.

He noted that the store will feature exclusive items for its grand opening on Friday. This includes the Spy x Family UT, a collaboration with the Japanese anime series Spy x Family, which will be available in the store a week before it appears in other Uniqlo stores. The store will also carry Seattle-inspired t-shirts by artist Lauren Martin.

Additionally, there will be garments that use the brand’s HeatTech, a fabric that generates body heat to keep you warm, and Ultra Light Down, which are warm, packable jackets for layering or travel.

Uniqlo has 45 stores in the US market, but earlier this year it announced a five year plan to open 30 stores a year in North America until it has 200 outposts in 2027.

“The Seattle Pine Street store builds on our expansion strategy to open new stores in key markets where we already have a presence, particularly on the East and West Coasts, while entering new markets. Additional store openings are planned for the spring,” Tsukagoshi said.

Uniqlo is a subsidiary of Quick retail Co. Ltd., a large retail holding company headquartered in Tokyo. Uniqlo is the largest of the company’s eight brands. Besides Uniqlo, there are Gu, Theory, PlsT (Plus T), Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam, J Brand and Helmut Lang.

In fiscal year 2021, Quick retail had global sales of $19.4 billion, making it one of the largest apparel retail companies in the world.