Uniqlo opens first US mall store, in Paramus, NJ

The as yet unveiled exterior of the Westfield Garden State Plaza Mall Uniqlo
in Paramus, New Jersey.

Uniqlo will open its new Paramus, NJ, store in the Westfield Garden State Plaza on Friday, September 28th. At 43,000 square feet, the store is the company’s largest mall store in the world and will serve as the prototype for future U.S. shopping mall locations.

As Shin Odake, Uniqlo’s US CEO put it, “This store will function like a flagship for our mall stores. Although we feel flagship stores in cities are important to showcase the brand, most growth will be outside cities in mall or lifestyle locations. We’ll also eventually have freestanding stores to complete a portfolio of store types.”

The two-story site replaces an Old Navy and has its own entrance onto the parking lot. The interior mall entry is located near a children’s play area so the store has stocked the (new to the United States) children’s collection just inside that door. An LCD monitor display at that same entrance will feature interactive games and activities to draw customers into the store. It’s the first of its kind for the company and will debut at a location in Japan on the same opening day.

“We are pleased to welcome Uniqlo to the Paramus community,” says mayor Richard LaBarbiera. “They have already stimulated the North Jersey job market by hiring more than 220 employees.”

Special pricing for the store opening, which will be echoed in New York City locations, includes men’s and women’s broadcloth cotton shirts and fleece full-zip jackets at $9.90 for the first 500 customers in the store on September 28th and 29th (through the 30th in New York). Japanese engineered denim will be $9.90 and ultra-light down outerwear will be $49.90 (normally $69.90), from September 28th to October 6th (7th in New York).

The Paramus store is about the same size as Uniqlo’s first U.S. location in New York City’s SoHo neighborhood and joins two other locations in Manhattan on 34th Street and on Fifth Avenue. A fifth U.S. store will open in San Francisco in October. Uniqlo operates 160 stores in China, 100 in Korea and 847 in Japan with a total of more than 1,132 locations in 13 countries. The company currently does $13 billion dollars globally and expects its overseas business to eclipse its Japanese business within three years. (The SoHo store has had double-digit sales increases every year since it opened in 2006.)

The fall ad campaign, which focuses on Uniqlo’s “Made For All” message, features a range of “celebrities,” including several from San Francisco, such as former 49ers quarterback Joe Montana, tech entrepreneur Brit Morin, musician Goapele and chef Danny Bowien.

Uniqlo USA CEO Shin Odake at Tuesday’s press preview.

A display highlighting $9.90 Japanese engineered denim.

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