India’s uniqueness could make it the biggest market for us: Uniqlo’s Sei | The Financial Express

India’s uniqueness could make it the biggest market for us: Uniqlo’s Sei

As Uniqlo’s India CEO Tomohiko Sei told FE in an interaction, India is big on the brand’s radar, with a potential to becoming its largest market as well as production centre

India’s uniqueness could make it the biggest market for us: Uniqlo’s Sei
Currently present in NCR with seven stores and a store each in Chandigarh and Lucknow, besides online sales though its website and app, the brand is clearly here to stay

When Uniqlo opened its first store in India, in Vasant Kunj, Delhi, in October 2019, it clocked sales of Rs 2.2 crore in the first two days. Since then, barring the pandemic year (FY21), the brand is going from strength to strength in India, generating a profit of Rs 21.49 crore in FY22.

And, as Uniqlo’s India CEO Tomohiko Sei told FE in an interaction, India is big on the brand’s radar, with a potential to becoming its largest market as well as production centre. “Unique thing about India is that it has local production opportunity. Many other regions do not have the resource of the factory, the resource of textiles, but India has everything,” he said.

Sei added: “As of now, China is the biggest market for Uniqlo, but I believe India has the potential to be the biggest local production source for us. And given that India will soon be the most populous country, its potential as a retail market will only just increase. This is a very unique market compared to others, and that’s why so many companies come to India.”

Currently present in NCR with seven stores and a store each in Chandigarh and Lucknow, besides online sales though its website and app, the brand is clearly here to stay. “Our business size is small right now, but there is a huge potential for growth. We need to have a strong quality of operation for long-term business success,” said Sei. This goes for both stores and factories.

“Our aim is to expand as much as possible, but it depends on a lot of other factors – choosing the right business partners, having the right location, etc. From our online sales, we are seeing big demand from Mumbai and Bengaluru, too. It is this demand that will drive our strategy. In fact, the strategy itself is not the only purpose; our customers’ needs come first and not the strategy,” said Sei.

In May, Tadashi Yanai, the company’s founder and president, met Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who exhorted the brand to be a partner in strengthening the textile sector in India. That, Sei said, is an extremely long-term project and “we are just at the beginning stage of it. There are so many stakeholders and so many regulations to keep in mind, so it’s something that will take time”. Also, regarding the 30% local sourcing mandate as per the single-brand retail FDI policy, Sei said, “I cannot disclose the exact amount but as a mandate, we are on track. Our target is not just 30%, we want to expand as much as we can for Indian production to contribute to Indian society. Our production team is based in Bengaluru and we are working together to figure out how to expand further. We opened our production office in Bengaluru in 2016 and we have partner factories all over India to produce high-technology and highly-innovative fabrics.”

Also Read: L’Oréal appoints Aseem Kaushik as India Managing Director, succeeds Amit Jain

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First published on: 22-11-2022 at 09:34:00 am
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