UNIQLO opens first store in the capital of Hanoi

11:01 | 09/03/2020
Japanese clothing giant UNIQLO is making strides in Vietnam, with two recently-opened stores and several more in the pipeline. General director and COO of UNIQLO Vietnam Osamu Ikezoe talked with VIR’s Nhat Ha how the company is planning to communicate the philosophy of UNIQLO LifeWear to Vietnam’s shopaholics.
uniqlo opens first store in the capital of hanoi
UNIQLO opens first store in the capital of Hanoi

Were there any difficulties faced in opening the first store in Vietnam?

Vietnam is a promising market with the fastest economic growth rate in Southeast Asia. Since the establishment of UNIQLO Vietnam in 2018, we have not faced any real obstacles. We have always received eager support from the government and related authorities, especially those in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, which made it a breeze to open the first store in the southern hub last December and now the first one in Hanoi.

Despite many favourable conditions, we still needed a lot of time to learn and understand the market and prepare our initial locations carefully. It took time to find suitable retail spaces that meet our brand’s purpose both in Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, bringing best shopping experience for our customers.

In Hanoi, you chose Vincom Pham Ngoc Thach for the first store. Why did you choose this location, not the bustling business centre?

Vincom Phạm Ngọc Thạch is just 2-3 km from the central business district of Hanoi and intersects with crowded traffic points such as Chua Boc street. Moreover, we consider it as a high potential area as there are many residential areas, universities, and schools in the neighborhood areas as well. Another reason is due to space restrictions in the central business district of Hanoi, there are few locations in the heart of the city that could accommodate a store of the scale we envisioned for our super-large venue.

Spreading over two floors and with a retail space of almost 2,500 square metres, our Vincom Pham Ngoc Thach branch is one of the largest UNIQLO stores in Southeast Asia.

uniqlo opens first store in the capital of hanoi

Vietnamese consumers have been purchasing UNIQLO products directly from Japan. How do you plan to draw these consumers into your stores here, and where will the products on sale in Vietnam originate from?

We wish to show off all types of our products to Hanoians so we have to find a large retail space for it. We wanted to create a full space of unique items that they can find in any global store, even some specialties.

As for origins, we have a quality control and production process management to maintain high quality of products to ensure that all items worldwide are the same regardless of where they were made.

To showcase LifeWear in harmony with local culture, we work with local collaborators. For example, we worked with To He, a local social business, to create a special art space for kids to preserve and encourage playfulness within children and to raise their awareness in protecting the environment, especially in terms of plastic waste.

Moreover, we also continued our collaboration with Vo Trong Nghia, the architect focused on green design, to create a large and beautiful installation in the store. The huge original art installation is made entirely of bamboo, an iconic natural material synonymous with life in Vietnam.

How do you position your brand in the global fashion market and what is behind UNIQLO’s story?

UNIQLO promotes LifeWear, with our commitment to creating perfect clothing that meets the requirements of everyone’s daily lifestyles.

Our philosophy is clothes that we are constantly innovating, bringing more warmth, more lightness, better design, and better comfort to your life. Who you are and what you believe in - that’s what you wear every day. We create a new way of apparel. It is clothing that comes from our Japanese values of simplicity, quality, and longevity, designed to be of the time and for the time. It is made with such modern elegance that it becomes the building blocks of your style.

In Vietnam, the store in Ho Chi Minh City is different from that in Hanoi. The difference is not in the quality of products but in the performance we wish to bring to our clients.

While the Ho Chi Minh City store offers a modern and vibrant lifestyle, we combined Hanoi’s rich history and beauty with UNIQLO innovations for a world-class shopping experience.

Highlights include a giant art installation made from Vietnamese bamboo, and our iconic UT corner, a beautifully-modern space for customers to express their unique style.

The store also offers the UNIQLO t-shirt (UT) line in a dedicated area that is one of only a few such UT areas found in stores worldwide.

Mickey Stands UTs incorporate a Vietnamese motif, like the iconic Vietnamese conical hat. In one version, Mickey holds a lotus flower, while another shows him riding a motorbike.

With the UTme! service, customers can create personalised t-shirts with their own designs, or a range of UNIQLO stamps, including special designs by talented illustrator Tuan Anh Vu, celebrating the Hanoian lifestyle through 20 iconic images such as riding cyclos, wearing ao dai, or socialising near Hoan Kiem Lake.

By Nhat Ha

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