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Fast Retailing’s GU Begins Big Global Push with NYC Flagship

Japanese fashion retailer GU is opening its first flagship store in New York City this fall, the first of many steps in its global growth strategy.
A mock-up of GU's NYC flagship // Photo credit: GU

Japanese fashion retailer GU is opening its first flagship store in New York City this fall. The Fast Retailing brand (also parent company of Uniqlo and Theory) is launching its U.S. online store within the same timeframe.  
 
GU initially ventured into the U.S. with a NYC pop-up in 2022. Under the theme “Tokyo to SoHo,” the pop-up is still open and aims to welcome people of all cultures, values and lifestyles to the GU brand. The pop-up is scheduled to close this summer, in time for the flagship’s official opening.  
 
Located on Broadway, GU’s 10,225-square-foot SoHo flagship will span two floors, offering apparel, shoes, bags and accessories for men and women. The online store will make the same product lineup available to consumers nationwide.  

The First Step to Becoming a ‘Global Fashion Brand’  

GU has applied some key learnings from its SoHo pop-up experience to develop its long-term brick-and-mortar strategy and support its U.S. expansion. This is the brand’s first store outside of Asia, where it currently has approximately 470 stores. And with a fiscal 2024 motto of “Go Global,” the company appears to have big aspirations. 
 
“For about a year and a half since opening our first pop-up store in the U.S., we have been able to provide GU products to many customers, so we have great expectations for our business development in the U.S.,” said GU CEO Osamu Yunoki in a statement. “We have applied what we learned from the pop-up store to establish a framework for product development and business operations at a global level, and we are extremely pleased to be officially opening a store in the United States this fall.”   
 
Although GU noted that the new flagship is “a major step toward GU becoming a global fashion brand,” it is complementing a lot of other work being done behind the scenes. For example, the company developed a product division in New York in September 2023 to support its global aspirations. Moving forward, GU is focused on recruiting local designers, pattern makers and other positions for this division to support international product development. 

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