While U.S. retailers in Canada close up shop, popular Japanese retailers UNIQLO and Muji surge ahead. Just over the weekend, Uniqlo opened its second location in suburban Vancouver, and Muji opened its fifth store in the GTA. Moreover, both chains are committed to opening additional stores in Canada.
In 2016, Uniqlo opened its first Canadian store, 33,400 square feet, at the Eaton Centre in Toronto. Its second store, 30,000 square feet, opened one month later at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. A third store in the GTA will open shortly. Its new store in the Vancouver area a 12,800 square foot space in Surrey, opened last Friday. Even though Uniqlo had just opened a 20,630 square foot space in nearby Burnaby in October 2017, there were still huge lineups to get in. This spring, the company will open a third store in the Vancouver area at CF Richmond Centre. According to Uniqlo Founder and CEO Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo is planning to open some 100 stores in Canada.
Muji’s largest store in the GTA, at 6,800 square feet, opened at Scarborough Town Centre on Saturday. Their store in downtown Toronto has temporarily relocated but will expand to the size of its flagship Vancouver store, which opened in December. According to Muji’s Canadian President, Toru Akita, Muji expects to operate between 15 and 20 stores in Canada by 2020, including stores beyond the Toronto and Vancouver areas, including Montreal.
Other Japanese retailers are expected to enter the Canadian market, including Japanese footwear brand ASICS, which opened its Canadian flagship store on Queen Street West in Toronto. More ASICS stores are expected to follow. In addition, variety retailer Miniso plans to open 500 stores in Canada, and another Japanese footwear brand will open soon. This is all happening as Canadian retailers face reduced sales with this new competition. While it appears that leasing retail space is difficult in Canada, some brands still plans to expand their presence.
Do you shop at Miniso or Muji? Let us know in the comments.
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