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Simon Coble

UK chief executive, Uniqlo

Uniqlo may still be a relative baby on the UK high street, having launched in the UK in 2001, but it has won the hearts - and cash - of UK shoppers.

Its parent company Fast Retailing had a record year in 2008 and Tadashi Yanai, the entrepreneur behind the business, made overtures to The Sunday Times which signalled a bid for US giant Gap was not out of the question in May.

What’s interesting is that Uniqlo has succeeded where Gap has struggled. Both businesses operate in the casualwear market, but whereas Gap’s product has been hit or miss over recent seasons, Uniqlo’s is spot on, serving up a marriage of trend-led key pieces with its own clear handwriting and at great value prices.

It snapped up model-of-the-moment Agyness Deyn to front its summer campaign this year and lured designer Jil Sander out of retirement to create a range of contemporary classics for autumn. Sander’s minimalist aesthetic goes hand in hand with Uniqlo’s handwriting, so a premium collaboration and consultancy is the perfect tie-up.

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