Some months ago I got excited about this japanese Retailer UNIQLO who do things pretty differently including a Robot shop assistant called Wakamuru and some of the whackiest, zanniest ideas in Retailing.
Well, those guys are back in the news again. UNIQLO now have a tie up with China’s largest online shopping portal taobao.com who reportedly have some 100 million online shoppers registered with them. The portal is owned by a the Alibaba Group ( !!) . I did not realise Alibaba was such popular metaphor across that part of Asia as well. Hmmm…
UNIQLO will open their Flagship click and mortar store on Taobao and will get hugely promoted by Alibaba!
Incidentally UNIQLO is the largest fashion retail chain in japan with 800 stores ( there are about as many Coffee Days in India, isnt it ?) and its owned by Fast Retailing co. who also own the European Lingerie brand ‘Princesse Tam Tam’ amongst others.
Its interesting to know that Fast Retailing had unsuccessfully offered a bid of $900 million for Barneys New York department store in 2007.
Amongst their many creative ideas in Fashion Retail, I found a very interesting UNIQLO concept of Container Stores. I like it since it is so relevant for Indian Retail with our street markets, Diwali melas and crazy real estate prices ! The UNIQLO container is hardworking store with strip windows and an external generator for lights and POS. The door and ramp fold on hydraulic struts. The designers for the UNIQLO Containers are LOT-EK
Sharing pic of a UNIQLO ‘Container’ store in New York :
Pic source : http://www.psfk.com/2006/10/uniqlo_containe.html
I read this morning that 94 Thomas Bata, died in Toronto on Monday evening. For many years of my life I believed Bata was an Indian company. Something to do with the fact that Bata rhymed with Tata but more than that since Bata has been my generation’s childhood companion. I grew up with the Bata School shoes with a rather special relationship with my white PT shoes which I used to religiously wash in detergent every Sunday and then carefully beautify with a white shoe paint. My rather long big toe would sometimes win a battle with the shoe to dig a small hole ahead. And it used to be time for the next visit to the Bata shop in Alambagh.
Thomas Bata was called Tom by his friends and he had tremendous love for India and its people. His contribution to our country can never be forgotten and India accounted for the maximum Bata sales. Bata gave us our first shoes. In the 75 years Bata has a 35 % market share in the organized footwear sector and 8.5 % of India’s total footwear market. Bata retails from 1,250 stores across the country. It sells over 45 million pairs of shoes every year with an annual sales turnover of more than 178 million USD ( Rs 8 billion).
The company’s brands include Hush Puppies, Dr. Scholls, North Star, Power, Marie Claire and Bubbleguymmers. The company’s latest is a joint venture real estate project with the Calcutta Metropolitan Group to develop 262 acres land in Batanagar into a world-class integrated township called Calcutta Riverside.