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Uniqlo, London

Japanese casualwear chain Uniqlo hopes its new Oxford Street flagship store will boost the brand and double UK sales.

Last week, Japanese casualwear retailer Uniqlo opened two stores totalling 42,000sq ft on London’s Oxford Street. According to Tadashi Yanai, chairman and chief executive of parent company Fast Retailing, the stores will double Uniqlo’s UK sales and boost brand awareness.

Drapers visited the larger of the two – the three-floor 25,000sq ft store at 311, a prime London location in the footfall-packed throng between Bond Street and Oxford Circus tube stations. It is described by chief operations officer Simon Coble as the “second global flagship after last year’s New York launch”.

He added: “It’s an essential site because we have needed somewhere that would showcase the brand. That is what has been lacking in the UK, until now.”

Big and ambitious, the new store is still recognisably Uniqlo. The retailer’s signature red punctuates the steel, wood and white box format, with the new Japanese and English logos appearing side-by-side on the fascia. Perspex tubes extend from the ground floor to the first floor ceiling, with rotating mannequins at each level and a bank of screens looping in-house graphics. Overall though, this store is less about high retail drama and more a blend of easy foot-flow and rigorous smartness.

This is a utility-driven shopfit, executed with precision, and a huge volume of product is squeezed neatly into a balanced mix of hanging rails and folded piles – most notably the huge wealth of bright cashmere.

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