Casual fashion retailer Uniqlo will open its first store in the Midwest, a flagship location in Chicago, on October 23. The three-level, 60,000-square-foot store will employ 400 workers and will be Uniqlo’s second largest location, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Although Uniqlo has no immediate plans to add more stores in the Midwest region, potential destinations for expansion include Minneapolis, Detroit, St. Louis and Dallas, according to Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA. The retailer has more than 1,600 stores in 16 countries worldwide, and has nearly doubled its number of U.S. stores over the past year.
“To open in the Midwest, it had to be Chicago, and it had to be in the right location on Michigan Avenue,” Meyer said in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. The new store will include a full range of casual wear for men, women, children and babies, and will feature a Starbucks outlet.It also will serve as a testing ground for mobile consumer interaction, marking the debut of a new Uniqlo mobile app that will potentially include shopping and styling tips, discounts and a store map.
“This is the first time we’re piloting this globally,” said Justin Kerr, Chief Merchandising Officer at Uniqlo. “We have probably 10 things we’re going to throw out there and test and get feedback from the customer.”
While Uniqlo has explored expansion into China, further U.S. expansion is the retailer’s top priority for growth. “To get to number one, the U.S. is the number one priority,” Kerr said. “To add an icon like Chicago into the fold is really exciting.”