“By 2016, we want to position ourselves globally as a brand combining both Japan’s solemnity and pop culture. If we can clearly differentiate ourselves from other brands, I think there’s a real chance we could even surpass Uniqlo.” These are the comments from the G.U. President, Osamu Yunoki, of the Fast Retailing (FR) Group. It seems establishing brand power early on is key to achieving even greater growth of up to 1 trillion in sales in this highly competitive market.


“Put simply, our growth so far is due to quickly evolving and keeping up with the market. But now, we will be players in a hotly-contested market. The overseas fast fashion companies have succeeded in branding themselves based on taste. So, in addition to continually changing and keeping up with the market, we have to clearly show consumers what kind of brand G.U. is, and how we are different and better than the competition.”

Since this fiscal year, G.U. has been focusing on conveying its well-balanced Japanese designs and wide array of on-trend apparel, which is aimed at securing young customers. The company is also expanding its line up to include items that will appeal to more mature customers, as well as creating clothes that offer a multitude of ways to dress stylishly.

G.U. is successfully making a name for itself in Taiwan and Taipei, where Japanese culture is popular. In Shanghai though, G.U.’s brand power is weak amongst its many rivals, and there is also a high proportion of women in Shanghai who prefer the sexier style of Western fashion brands.

However, G.U. will focus on promoting its fun fashion that offers a wide range of ways to dress, based on the belief that “successfully conveying the concept of well-balanced Japanese designs and a variety of ways to dress stylishly, which equates to ‘developing your personal style’, will help secure repeat customers.”

G.U. has over 300 stores in Japan as of this spring. As for its speed in expanding overseas, the company’s current stance is: “You could say we have been slow in our foray abroad; but once we start to see positive earnings in Shanghai, we hope to pick up the pace and open several dozen more stores within a year.” G.U. will first focus on China, Korea, and Southeast Asia in its global strategy, and then work out a plan for the West.

When asked about the time frame for reaching 1 trillion in sales, President Yunoki commented with a smile, “I haven’t decided yet. Even Tadashi Yanai (Chairman and President of FR) won’t say when specifically.”

G.U. is a brand more fashionable than Uniqlo, with a price on par with fast fashion and around 300 stores in Japan. Although the G.U. brand still isn’t well recognized overseas, the company is performing well.