MANILA, Philippines—The country’s largest retail and mall chain, ShoeMart, is bringing Japanese casual clothing brand UNIQLO to the Philippines.
In a statement, SM Retail said it had forged an agreement with Japan’s Fast Retailing Corp., through subsidiary Market Watch Investment Corp., to put up a new joint venture company that would put up the first UNIQLO store in Manila by early 2012.
Fast Retailing had been exploring the possibility of entering the Philippine market, through UNIQLO, for some time.
“The joint venture is expected to create excitement in the dynamic local retail market as it will bring to Manila a global brand known for its high-quality fashionable basic casual clothes for both sexes that can be worn in any occasion,” SM Retail said in a statement.
Fast Retailing opened its first UNIQLO store in Japan in 1984 and began its expansion into international markets in 1991 by launching stores in the UK, and subsequently launching ventures in China, Hong Kong, South Korea, the US, France, Singapore and Russia.
As of the end of February 2011, UNIQLO has 824 stores in Japan and 150 stores in other markets overseas. It recently opened a store in Bangkok.
Last year, SM Retail also brought foreign clothing brand Forever 21 and Payless shoes to the Philippines. It also has a chain of specialty store formats that serve niche markets by focusing on a wide selection of merchandise for each category like home stores, toy superstores, hardware superstores like ACE Hardware, personal care store Watsons, and appliance superstores, among others.
SM Retail, the leading retail group in the Philippines, has over 50 years of experience in the industry. Its retail operations include a chain of department stores, supermarkets and hypermarkets strategically located at key cities of the Philippines.
SM Retail is part of SM Investments Corp., one the country’s largest conglomerates, which also has core businesses in mall operations, banking, property, and hotels and conventions.