Uniqlo's sister brand GU to open first Western store via US pop-up
Fast Retailing’s major brand GU is targeting international growth and will open its first US store this fall. The company said it will debut in Soho, New York, and this “marks the first time the brand launches in the West”.
The shop will be a pop-up rather than a permanent location and the brand will use it to offer “a special line-up of choice, on-trend clothing and accessories for both men and women, allowing customers to experience the latest fashions from GU”.
CEO of GU Co Ltd Osamu Yunoki said: "It is a great honor to be opening our first store in the United States. New York is a place where people with diverse backgrounds come together from around the world, an exciting city where fashion, art, music, and other varied cultural elements intersect.
“By opening a pop-up shop in the center of Soho, we will be able to reach a wide range of customers, including New York residents as well as tourists, offering them products filled with the sense of trendiness exemplified in the GU brand message of 'Your Freedom,' and allowing them to enjoy outfits that freely express their individuality.”
The brand name GU is close in sound to the Japanese word jiyu which means freedom.
The label was established in 2006 in Japan as a sister brand to Uniqlo. It currently has around 450 locations in Asia.
Fast Retailing is taking a rather different approach from the one it chose when taking Uniqlo outside of Asia. With that brand, it opened in the UK as its first non-Asian market with a large-scale permanent store. However, it took some time for the brand to become established and the pop-up approach in buoyant New York seems to make good commercial sense in today's environment.
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