Six years after confirming its appetite for Canada, the Japanese ready-to-wear multinational Uniqlo is finally settling in Quebec, starting with the opening this Friday of its first flagship store, rue Sainte-Catherine Ouest, in Montreal. .
While most are worried about the future of downtown, the retailer chooses to set up its largest Canadian store there. With an area of 32,000 sq. Ft., Spread over two floors, it will occupy all the space left vacant by Tommy Hilfiger a few years ago, at the corner of Ste-Catherine and Robert-Bourassa.
Customers who have become groupies
The Eaton Center, which now includes the former Les Ailes Complex, owned by Ivanhoe Cambridge, has a lot of hope in the power of attraction of this newcomer. When it opened at the Eaton Center in Toronto in 2016, no less than 1,800 people lined up for the occasion.
“It lasted like that for two weeks,” remembers Kathleen Adams, Director of Sustainable Development at Uniqlo Canada. Uniqlo fans are really passionate. Like rock singer groupies on tour of shows, many of our customers make it a point of honor to travel specially for each new store opening, regardless of the location! ”
From a first store in Hiroshima, inherited from his father in 1984, Tadashi Yanai succeeded in turning the family business into a retail empire. After a few unsuccessful attempts, the retailer officially landed in the United States in 2011. Uniqlo now has more than 1,800 stores in 18 countries, including 13 in Canada, Ontario and the UK mainly.
The Apple of fashion?
The chain is often compared to the American Gap because of the style of its clothing and its affordable prices. Uniqlo (born from the contraction of Unique Clothing) prefers to speak of “unique collections” which stand out for their attention to detail, comfort and durability.
“We’re also often compared to an Ikea or a fashion Apple,” says Adams. It is obviously a comparison that we appreciate more! ”
Despite the risk of crowds on Friday, Uniqlo ensures that all the recommended protective measures will be applied. This includes wearing protective equipment and taking daily temperature measurements for all staff. The same will apply to customers, who will also have to wear a mask and have their temperature taken before entering the store, the company said.