Minimalist Japanese retailer Muji will open up to eight Canadian stores over the next five years, according to the president of Muji Canada. It has secured its first Canadian location in Toronto, with further locations to follow in Vancouver and, eventually, in other Canadian cities.

Toru Tsunoda, president of Muji Canada, tells Reuters that Muji’s plans to open seven or eight stores across Canada is part of a broader plan for the retailer to operate more stores overseas than in Japan within the next two years. Muji currently operates 255 stores outside of Japan, including 100 in China. It currently has 385 stores in Japan, meaning that it plans to open at least 130 new international stores before 2017.

“I hope to open seven to eight (Canadian) stores in the next five years,” said Mr. Tsunoda (in a Japanese language interview). “But opening one store a year may be a realistic goal because we want to open (each) new location carefully. When it reaches the certain level, we could accelerate.”

Prices at Muji’s Canadian stores will be higher than in the U.S. according to Mr. Tsunoda. This is due to higher operating costs. To keep prices low, “we may have to squeeze profit margin,” Mr. Tsunoda said, though he noted a lower margin could slow the pace of expansion. Muji will offer about 2,800 items in Canada, versus 3,500 in the United States and more than 7,000 in Japan.

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