In its twelfth year of operation, with 26 stores in Singapore and approximately 1,400 employees, Uniqlo now plans to open more brick-and-mortar stores in the country. Despite the importance of e-commerce, the company considers the offline channel to be a “very important” one for the company’s business in Singapore.
Over the past year, Uniqlo increased its e-commerce activities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic and the urgent need for retailers to go digital. The retailer continued to adapt to other challenges such as labor shortages, which heightened when some of its foreign employees returned to their home country amid the pandemic. The company adapted by introducing self-checkout counters at close to 70% of its stores to alleviate manpower challenges, and beefed up its e-commerce initiatives, including offering online-only discounts and extra product sizes. It also partnered with third-party logistics companies for its deliveries.
However, the company also sees opportunities in the brick-and-mortar space and considers both offline and online channels to be important in Singapore. During the pandemic, the company relaunched three of its physical stores – Orchard Central, Ion Orchard and Plaza Singapura – with new retail concepts at what it calls its “Uniqlo Towns”. This resulted in footfall at these three locations increasing by an average of 130% since the relaunch in July 2020.
Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing Group, reported growth in revenue and profit in the nine months ended May 2021. Profits increased to 227.9 billion yen from 134.4 billion yen in the previous year when sales were hit by the pandemic. The retail group expects operating profit for the fiscal year ending August to increase 64% year-on-year to 245 billion yen.
(Source: Channel News Asia)