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UNIQLO Business Model

Last Updated: 2016.02.26
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UNIQLO clothes offer unique value to everyone, everywhere. UNIQLO negotiates directly with materials suppliers around the world, placing large orders to ensure steady access to world-class natural materials. We also work with top synthetic fiber manufacturers to develop new functional materials. UNIQLO is known and loved by consumers worldwide for its ability to challenge the conventional wisdom of clothing.

Research & Development (Designers/Pattern Makers) Development and Procurement of Materials Merchandising Production Department (Quality and Production Control) UNIQLO's Takumi Teams Partner Factories Inventory Control Marketing Online Store Customer Center UNIQLO Japan Store UNIQLO International


Research & Design (Designers/Pattern makers)

UNIQLO's research and design (R&D) centers continually research analyze the latest fashions and lifestyles from around the world as well as look for new materials.
Concept meetings are held roughly one year before a product's intended launch. On these occasions, designers meet with representatives from the merchandising, marketing, materials development and production departments to discuss and finalize concepts for upcoming seasons. Then UNIQLO's R&D centers prepare designs and refine samples until each product is finalized.

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Development and Procurement of Materials

UNIQLO can secure stable, high-volume supplies of top-quality materials at low cost by negotiating directly with materials manufacturers, and placing large-volume orders. The materials used for our core items are particularly important. Our in-depth research and experimentation generates multi-layered improvements in the functionality, feel, silhouette and texture of our clothes. For example, we source denim to specific spinning standards and dyeing specifications from Kaihara Corporation. We also develop materials with our strategic partner Toray Industries, a synthetic fiber manufacturer, to create HEATTECH.

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Merchandisers play a vital role from product planning through production. After meeting with the R&D designers, merchandisers then apply the concepts for each season to product plans, materials and designs. Next, they decide the product lineup and volume for each season, paying close attention to a detailed marketing strategy. One other important task for our merchandisers is to decide when to increase or reduce production during a season. Any decisions about adjusting production in line with demand are made jointly with the product planning department.

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Quality and Production Control

UNIQLO deploys about 400 staff and textile takumi (skilled artisans) to offices in Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka, Jakarta and Istanbul. Production managers visit partner factories each week to resolve outstanding issues. Customer concerns regarding quality are communicated immediately to production departments, and then improvements are made.

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UNIQLO's Takumi Team

"By offering instruction on dyeing technology at UNIQLO's partner factories, I can encourage workers to embrace a new production management philosophy and improve the factories they work in. Our cultures may be different, but our aim is the same--to make good great products. I am proud to be passing on expert Japanese techniques to the next generation of technicians."

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Expanding Our Production Network

As UNIQLO expands its global reach, we have formed business relationships with partner factories in China, Vietnam, Bangladesh and Indonesia. We will also look at expanding our global manufacturing base by developing relationships with factories closer to UNIQLO stores in Europe and the United States.

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Inventory Control

The Inventory Control department maintains the optimum level of store inventory by monitoring sales and stock on a weekly basis, and dispatching necessary inventory and new products to fulfill product orders. At the end of each season, merchandisers and the Marketing Department help coordinate the timing of markdowns and limited-period sales (typically 20-30% off the regular price) to ensure that inventory sells out.

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Each season, UNIQLO conducts promotional campaigns for core products such as fleece, Ultra Light Down, AIRism and HEATTECH. During these campaigns, UNIQLO advertises these core products' unique qualities and noteworthy features on TV and in other media. In Japan, for example, weekly flyers in the Friday editions of national newspapers, which are delivered to most households, promote the apparel that will be discounted through Monday.

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UNIQLO Japan had 841 stores (including 30 franchise stores) at the end of August 2015. Since the opening of the first store outside Japan in 2001, UNIQLO International has expanded to 798 stores, including 467 stores in Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong and Taiwan), 155 in South Korea, and 108 in Southeast Asia and Oceania. We have enjoyed rapid store development in Asia.

Japan store locator

Global store locator

UNIQLO store openings/closings (Japan)

You can see photos of UNIQLO Japan stores in Photo Library.
Photo Library | UNIQLO Japan

You can see photos of UNIQLO International stores in Photo Library.
Photo Library | UNIQLO International

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E-commerce Business

Online sales in Japan totaled ¥32.4 billion in fiscal 2015, or 4.2% of total UNIQLO sales. Online sales are also doing well in places including Mainland China, Taiwan, South Koria, Britain, the U.S., Australia and Singapore.

UNIQLO online store

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Customer Center

The Customer Center deals with more than 270,000 comments and requests annually. Appropriate departments act on them to improve products, stores and services.

Click here to send an opinion or a request (Japanese)

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