International clothing giant Uniqlo opens store in Gothenburg
The Japanese clothing retailer Uniqlo is the second largest in the industry worldwide. Three years ago, they opened their first store in Sweden and Stockholm. Since then, another store has been added in Mall of Scandinavia in Solna. The Gothenburg store will be the third in Sweden and fourth in Scandinavia.
– To develop our business in Sweden, it is a natural step to open our third store in such a vibrant and dynamic city like Gothenburg. Gothenburg citizens are known for their freedom from prejudice and their innovative way of thinking - we believe this will fit in well with our LifeWear philosophy, says Nikolina Johnston, COO Scandinavia, Uniqlo Europe.
The LifeWear concept is clothing that is designed to improve everyone's everyday life.
– Our Swedish customers have already embraced our functional and comfortable LifeWear through our stores in Stockholm and our online store. For us, success is based on a good understanding of the local customers and to offer them meaningful solutions for their daily lifestyle through our clothes, says Nikolina Johnston.
When Uniqlo's first Sweden store opened in Stockholm in 2016, it was the result of conversations that started during the retail and real estate fair Mapic in France in 2016. Business Region Göteborg was also involved in the conversations.
– An establishment in Sweden has several advantages, among other things, there are consumers with good incomes here and thus there is a strong purchasing power. For the region and the city, an establishment is of particular importance as new employment opportunities are created, says Helen Bairu, Establishment Advisor at Business Region Göteborg.
After Uniqlo's second store opened in Stockholm, the focus shifted to establishing itself in Gothenburg. Finding a good venue in the city location had the highest priority.
– At an early stage, we helped with advice and information about location, the various city locations and its different characters, as well as help with pointing out which property owners they could contact. It landed in the premises in Fredsstan with property owners Vasakronan, which they also rent from in Stockholm, says Helen Bairu.
Fredsstan is an area that should be a place for shopping, food and people on the move. Fredsgatan is a strong shopping street, while the cross streets will offer slightly smaller shops and restaurants.
– Fredsgatan is a high street and this is where the strongest brands want to establish themselves. That Uniqlo chooses to open its store there is great for us, Fredsstan and Gothenburg. We need new stores and a mix of international and local entrepreneurs. This makes the town interesting and worth a visit - both by those who live here and by tourists. It also strengthens future establishments and makes other companies want to come here, says Kristina Pettersson Post, regional manager at Vasakronan.
Business Region Göteborg has a wide range of services with many contacts and can tailor information according to the needs of the company in question.
– We have supported and tried to be Uniqlo's right hand here locally and have answered questions that have arisen during the journey, for example regarding recruitment. We are there to facilitate during the establishment process, says Helen Bairu.
In this type of process, Business Region Göteborg also helps to describe what the industry looks like, what behaviour consumers have, how much a citizen of Gothenburg spends, what competitors there are and other demographic statistics.
– We convey knowledge and the right contacts. We have also been able to confirm the information that Uniqlo has intercepted that people of the Gothenburg region have good knowledge and interest in sustainability.
Before the opening, Uniqlo worked closely together with The Swedish School of Textiles in Borås to create The Upcycling Project. In the first part of the collaboration, the students' projects are presented in the store. Waste materials and objects from Uniqlo's recycling program have been used to give new life to incorrectly manufactured garments creatively.
– Uniqlo shares the school's values and commitment to the sustainable development of the textile industry. With this exhibition, Uniqlo wants to learn from the students' innovative perspectives, inspire consumers to reuse, recycle and "upcycle" and increase awareness of a circular approach to fashion, says Nikolina Johnston.
In addition, Uniqlo also collaborates with the Gothenburg-based furniture company Modly Studios.
– To make a difference, we strive to grow and prosper with the communities in which we operate. That is why we always work with local brands. Modly Studios is the next generation of furniture companies that have an innovative and customer-centric approach with a focus on details. It fits in with Uniqlo's LifeWear philosophy of durable, quality and appropriate clothing. As part of the collaboration, Uniqlo will present a selection of Modly Studio's tables in the store, says Nikolina Johnston.
For Helen Bairu at Business Region Göteborg, Uniqlo is also a personal favourite.
– Swedes and ‘Gothenburgers’ are generally well-travelled and we tend to recognize brands from our travels. This is one such brand. Then of course, many would be delighted to have them at home as well. We are very happy that Uniqlo is here and we welcome them to Gothenburg, she says.