Uniqlo grows in Zara’s kingdom: studies partnership with El Corte Inglés
The Japanese company currently operates with three stores in Spain: two in Barcelona and one in Madrid, to which a third will soon be added in the Spanish city.
Uniqlo expands in Spain. The Japanese fashion retailer, owned by Fast Retailing, says it is “open” to all opportunities in the Spanish market, including the department store group El Corte Inglés.
The company opens its first establishment in Madrid to the public three years after landing in Spain with an opening in Barcelona. The new store in the capital has more than 1,500 square meters and is located in the former El Jardín de Serrano shopping mall.
The company also has a store in the Glòries shopping center, in Barcelona, and prepares a new point of sale on the ground floor of Pedralbes Center, on Diagonal Avenue in the Spanish city.
Street level, shopping malls, can El Corte Inglés be the next step? “El Corte Inglés is a department store that could also be seen as a small shopping center, so we consider any opportunity, “Koh Kobayashi, chief operation officer for Uniqlo in Spain, told Mds. On whether there have already been conversations with the department stores group, Kobayashi laughs and insists: “We are very, very open.”
Kobayashi says the group is “open to all possibilities”
Beyond Madrid and Barcelona, Kobayashi says he has not had time to think about new cities, but “of course we are planning new locations.” The executive refuses to give a specific number of how many Uniqlo stores fit in the Spanish market: “all we can,” he says.
El Corte Inglés is one of the largest fashion distributors in Spain and the main stop for international operators who want to gain insight in the country. In 2017, the group’s revenue was 4.9 billion euros with this sector, above what Inditex entered in Spain in the same year.
Together with groups like Levi’s, Ralph Lauren or Esprit, which rely on department stores in their international expansion, or luxury brands such as Dior, Bottega Veneta or Dolce&Gabbana, in El Corte Inglés also operate brands that, like Uniqlo, concentrate the bulk of its distribution in retail.
Gap choose El Corte Inglés for its offensive in Spain
This was, in fact, the channel chosen by the American giant Gap for its expansion in the Spanish market in 2015. The chain, which also has establishments in airports, already has 69 points of sale in the group of department stores.
Fast Retailing, meanwhile, has become this year the second largest fashion distribution group in the world, boosted by exchange rates. In 2018, the company’s revenue was 2,290,548 million yen (19.4 billion euros), 7.5% more than the previous year.
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