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Uniqlo’s Growth Driven by Rising Demand Among Young Women, Reveals UK Chief

Uniqlo sees surge in sales led by young female shoppers, embraces innovation in flagship stores to enhance customer experience.

Women's Tabloid News Desk
Women's Tabloid News Desk

According to Alessandro Dudech, Uniqlo UK’s chief operating officer, young women are increasingly driving demand for the brand’s products. Generation Z customers, particularly those under 29, now make up a significant portion of sales, doubling from 16% in 2019 to 35% in 2023. Dudech attributes this surge to the appeal of versatile clothing suitable for various occasions, such as “at the office or on a night out”.

Uniqlo’s popularity among young shoppers has been further propelled by the success of several viral products on platforms like TikTok. Notably, the brand’s crossbody bag gained attention for its compact yet spacious design, earning it comparisons to Mary Poppins’ magical accessory. Other items like bra tops with built-in cups and pleated wide-leg trousers have also garnered social media buzz.

Despite the brand’s success with viral products, Dudech emphasizes that Uniqlo isn’t actively chasing social media trends. Instead, the company focuses on maximizing opportunities presented by social media-driven trends while staying true to its core values and offerings.

“Clearly we are connecting more with younger customers,” he told PA news agency.

“But I think it is also because what Gen Z value in clothing is changing – they are becoming more and more discerning about the quality that goes into their clothing, and they are looking for versatile pieces.”

He disclosed that sales of women’s clothing surpassed men’s for the first time last year.

Mr. Dudech, who started at Uniqlo through its graduate program in 2012, highlighted the significance of flagship stores in Europe for the company’s profits. While the majority of Uniqlo’s 1,000+ stores are in Asia, four flagship stores in Europe rank among the top 10 globally.

Uniqlo recently unveiled a new flagship store on London’s Oxford Street, featuring innovative “magic tills” for seamless self-checkouts and an automated click-and-collect zone. Additionally, the Covent Garden store, opened last year, offers unique services like custom embroidery and in-store repairs for shoppers’ convenience.

According to Mr. Dudech, Uniqlo tailors its stores to cater to different types of shoppers, considering factors such as commuters’ need for quick shopping experiences versus tourists who may spend more time exploring the store.

He stresses the importance of high street stores having a distinct “reason of being” in the current environment where shoppers can easily go online instead, adding: “They need to be adding something to the experience.” 

Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, has invested in RFID technology embedded in clothing to power self-checkout and improve inventory management while deterring shoplifting.

Uniqlo has ambitious expansion plans, aiming to open 10 stores in Europe in 2024, followed by 15 in 2025 and 20 in 2026. Sales across the UK and European business surged by over a third to 1.3 billion euros (£1.1 billion) in the year ending August, as reported in its company accounts.

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