Takeshi Okazaki, chief financial officer of Fast Retailing, which also owns the Uniqlo brand, believes GU has just as much potential as Uniqlo. He told Bloomberg of plans to bring the Japanese fashion label to the US and Europe.

The hope is to generate as many GU stores as there are Uniqlo ones as Fast Retailing accelerates efforts to become a global retailer with JPY10trn (US$67bn) in sales.

GU has a slightly lower pricepoint than Uniqlo and its clothes aimed at a younger clientele. But it is predominantly based in Japan.

The brand first made an initial foray into North America with a pop-up store in New York City’s SoHo district in 2022.

Okazaki told Bloomberg that the ambition for the brand is that it is “overflowing with trendy products that are easily affordable” and that allow people to “enjoy fashion” but said this could not be achieved by staying within Japan.

He alluded to the idea GU could follow in the footsteps of sister brand Uniqlo, which has accelerated its expansion in the US and Europe. According to its fiscal year-end report, Uniqlo is looking at opening 20 stores in North America and ten in Europe each year.

How well do you really know your competitors?

Access the most comprehensive Company Profiles on the market, powered by GlobalData. Save hours of research. Gain competitive edge.

Company Profile – free sample

Thank you!

Your download email will arrive shortly

Not ready to buy yet? Download a free sample

We are confident about the unique quality of our Company Profiles. However, we want you to make the most beneficial decision for your business, so we offer a free sample that you can download by submitting the below form

By GlobalData
Visit our Privacy Policy for more information about our services, how we may use, process and share your personal data, including information of your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications. Our services are intended for corporate subscribers and you warrant that the email address submitted is your corporate email address.

But Louise Deglise-Favre, an analyst for GlobalData, expressed mixed feelings about the move. She told Just Style that, with Uniqlo’s already strong value and quality proposition, audiences might be confused about how to perceive GU.

“They’re really going to have to nail the marketing. It’s a more value brand, it targets a younger demographic. I can see them trying to come for rivals like Primark with it. But given Uniqlo has such a similar proposition and has done so well in those markets I wonder if audiences might be concerned that GU is of cheaper quality? But that said, it could be successful given the current economic climates in the US and EU. They really will have to get the marketing on it just right for audiences to understand, trust and accept the brand.”

Fast Retailing had not returned Just Style’s request for comment at time of press.

In its most recent set of financial results, Fast Retailing reported 13.2% revenue growth in the first quarter with its Uniqlo International business seeing revenue go up by almost a quarter (23.3%) thanks to its products being perceived as good value for money.