Japanese apparel retailer Uniqlo, which entered India in 2019 through the single brand FDI retail route, is launching its full-fledged e-commerce operations in the country.
This comes at a time when online shopping is gaining strong traction amidst the pandemic. “The company expects 15 per cent of its total sales to come from the online channel in due course,” a top official at the company said.
Tomohiko Sei, Chief Executive Officer, Uniqlo India said that the company had begun its online journey in India last year by initially offering a strategic “transitional service” called “Shop-from-Home” and now the company will offer a “360 degree e-commerce solution” to consumers.
“We are now ready to achieve a new milestone in India by launching a robust e-commerce solution including the official online store and the app. Customers are developing affinity towards our high quality and functional LifeWear essentials. We have seen positive customer feedback and demand from cities such as Mumbai, Bengaluru, and Kolkata, among others... My aim would be (to achieve) a two digit ratio of the total sales to begin with. My first goal is 15 per cent,” he added.
However, he did not specify a time frame. Sei said that given the acceleration in online shopping trends in India the company decided to launch its e-commerce operations much ahead of the original plan.
“Consumers will have access to a wide range of products as well as online exclusive items. More than 12,000 items and wider size options will be available through the e-commerce platform,” he said.
Uniqlo currently operates six stores in the Delhi-NCR region and said it is looking at expanding its store footprint. “E-commerce operations will be synergistic to our stores. At the same time, it’s important for us to continue to expand our customer touch-points through addition of new stores and we are looking at appropriate locations. Even in the Delhi-NCR region, we don’t think we have tapped the full potential yet and there are opportunities to add new stores,” Sei added.
The retail industry faced challenging times as various State governments had to implement lockdown-like restrictions to curb the second pandemic wave.
Sei said that the company is witnessing “significantly better recovery trends” this year post these restrictions were eased compared to last year after the national lockdown was lifted. He said growing brand awareness and vaccinations are among the factors which are driving these recovery trends.
“We are seeing increased demand for comfort, loungewear and athleisure clothing items from consumers,” Sei added.