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UNIQLO Business Model

Last Updated: 2023.02.29
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UNIQLO is able to produce such an amazing number of unique products because our business model unifies the entire clothes-making process--from planning and design through production, distribution, and retail. UNIQLO's market share is expanding worldwide as it develops radical new materials together with the world's best fabric technology innovators and creates basic designs using superior natural materials. UNIQLO LifeWear is high-quality, innovative clothing that is universal in design and comfort. It is made for everyone, everywhere. UNIQLO leverages today's increasingly digital world to communicate directly with customers and quickly transform their desires into actual products.


Research & Development (Designers/Pattern Makers)

  • An important part of R&D at UNIQLO is developing products that respond to customer requests, while also identifying emerging needs. Accordingly, our UNIQLO R&D centers constantly incorporate customer opinion while researching global fashion trends and new materials. One year before a product's intended launch, the R&D department holds a concept meeting with a diverse range of representatives from the merchandising, marketing and materials development teams to determine the right design concept for each season. Our designers then begin the process of preparing designs and refining samples. Even after a design is decided, its color and silhouette can be refined multiple times before it is truly finalized.

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  • The merchandising team plays a vital role in the product creation process, from product planning through production. Deciding product lineups and volumes through the year is an important aspect of the department's job. To do this, merchandisers communicate closely with R&D, the production department, and other divisions to determine the designs and materials required for each season's products. They also manage the launches of our strategic products in close cooperation with other key departments.

    Many UNIQLO products are manufactured in lots of approximately 1 million units, and the merchandising department monitors the latest sales conditions, issuing instructions to either increase or decrease production during the season--a key responsibility of the team.

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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 worldwide. Utilizing our economies of scale enables us to achieve more favorable terms than any other manufacturer. The materials used for our core items are particularly important. Our in-depth research and experimentation generates improvements in the functionality, feel, silhouette, and texture of our clothes. For example, we work closely with Kaihara Corporation to source denim to specific spinning standards and dyeing specifications. We also partner with world-leading synthetic fiber manufacturer Toray Industries to create innovative new fibers and materials such as the ones found in our HEATTECH range.

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Production Network

  • A UNIQLO fabric-making factory

  • UNIQLO does not own any factories. Instead, we outsource the production of almost all our products to factories in places including China, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and India. We have built strong relationships of trust with our partner factories over many years, and hold annual conventions to facilitate frank dialogue with factory managers. Our monitoring programs at our sewing factories and major fabric suppliers help to prevent human rights violations and to ensure good working environments and management frameworks in the making of our products. When required, we assist factories in the implementation of improvements. We also started a similar monitoring program at spinning mills in 2023. UNIQLO continues to ensure responsible procurement and high-quality products by maintaining win-win relationships with partner factories.

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Production Department

  • We assign production department members, who manage product quality and production progress, and Takumi (skilled artisans) to production offices in Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City, Dhaka, Jakarta, and Bengaluru. Production office representatives visit factories weekly to resolve any issues and ensure quality management right there on the factory floor. The production department swiftly addresses any quality concerns raised by customers and implements improvements if required.

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UNIQLO Takumi Teams

  • "By visiting factories and providing technical advice, Takumi establish thorough quality control and a strong relationship of trust. I offer instruction on dyeing technology at partner factories, and this can encourage workers to embrace a new production management philosophy and to improve their factories. I am proud to be passing on expert Japanese techniques to the next generation."

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Inventory Control

  • The inventory control team works to improve management efficiency by supplying inventory that reflects the sales capabilities and product sales of each individual store. The team monitors weekly sales and stock at each store and dispatches inventory to fulfill orders and maintain appropriate inventory levels. At the end of each season, merchandisers and the marketing department coordinate sales promotions and help reduce residual inventory.

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  • Each season, UNIQLO conducts promotional campaigns for core products such as HEATTECH, Ultra Light Down, AIRism, and Bra Tops. During the campaigns, UNIQLO advertises the products' unique qualities and features through TV commercials and online ads. In Japan, we use UNIQLO apps, email, social media, and flyers delivered with newspapers to notify customers about limited-period discounts, typically of 20-30%, on new seasonal ranges.

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  • UNIQLO Japan had 800 stores (including 10 franchise stores) at the end of August 2023. UNIQLO International boasted over double that number at 1,634 stores, including the Greater China (Mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan markets) region: 1,031, South Korea: 126, Southeast Asia, India & Australia: 342, North America: 67, and Europe: 68. We continue to open large numbers of new stores and enhance community-rooted stores that showcase local history and culture.

    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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  • Our e-commerce operation is growing increasingly important as more customers shop both in store and online. In FY2023, online sales accounted for approximately 15% of total sales (15.0% in Japan, approximately 20% in the Greater China region, South Korea, North America, and Europe, and approximately 10% in Southeast Asia, India & Australia). We intend to expand integrated store and e-commerce services that enable customers to shop conveniently when and how it suits them, and to strengthen our role as an information-sharing platform through UNIQLO LIVE STATION and other services.

    UNIQLO online store

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Customer Center

  • Our customer centers play the important role of analyzing huge volumes of feedback. This helps us improve core products, develop new products, and enhance our services. We have also adopted the latest AI, chatbot, and voice-recognition technology, enabling convenient communication with our customers over phone, email, or chat. Some products that have been improved as a result of customer feedback are featured on our exclusive UNIQLO UPDATE website.


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