Global Report

Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo announces two Canadian locations

Two Toronto stores will be joined by a Vancouver location later

Uniqlo storefront

(Jason Kempin/FilmMagic/Getty)

Japanese retail giant Uniqlo will open its first Canadian locations next year, the company announced today. Both stores will be in Toronto: at Yorkdale Shopping Centre and the other at the Eaton Centre.

“Entering the Canadian market is a milestone for the company and a significant step in our growth strategy,” Uniqlo USA CEO Larry Meyer said in a press release. He added that a Vancouver location was next on the list but gave no specifics.

Uniqlo has been expanding aggressively worldwide, “They have a pretty audacious goal to dominate globally,” retail analyst David Ian Gray told Canadian Business in 2013. It is Japan’s largest clothing retailer and has expressed ambitions to become the world’s largest. To do that it would need to surpass U.S.-based Gap Inc., Swedish retailer H&M, and Spain’s Inditex, parent of the Zara clothing chain. Those expansion plans have been mostly concentrated on Asia, however, where Uniqlo is opening around 100 stores per year.

At a comparatively leisurely pace of 20 to 30 new stores per year in North America, Uniqlo aims to have 100 North American locations within a few years. Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing Co. has said he intends to grow the company purely through organic growth, but many analysts have speculated that Uniqlo will need to make a major acquisition in order to break through in North America.