Just another Saturday afternoon outside UniQlo’s Shanghai flagship store
Following Paris, London and New York, Japanese fashion retailer UniQlo opened its 4th and largest global flagship store last month right here in Shanghai, on Nanjing West Road, close to M&S. Since opening its first Shanghai store way back in 2002, UniQlo has joined the ranks of KFC, Starbucks and McDonalds as one of the few foreign retail brands to have made it big in the People’s Republic of China, thanks to some pretty creative marketing. They now have over 60 stores in China.
Despite being open for a few weeks now, the store still had massive queues last Saturday, and although reluctant at first, I joined the masses in the line to get in to see what all the fuss was about.
Inside, I found it was pretty much like all the other UniQlo stores in Shanghai, except bigger at a whopping 3,300 square metres spanning 3 floors. I expected bigger to mean less crowded, but I suppose I should have known better. This is China after all, where building things bigger merely means more people will come. And so I queued with everyone else to get in and then to try on clothes at the changing rooms. At the changing rooms, they limited everyone to 5 items per time to keep the lines moving. The girl in front of me must have had about 25 items in her basket, so she had to make the agonising choice of what to try and what to leave to keep for the next round.
Apart from being bigger than the regular Shanghai stores, the flagship featured an atrium that goes from the ground to the top floor with “flying mannequins” that go up and down like superman, only more stylishly dressed!
I ended up with a couple of tee shirts and a nice polo shirt for around 240 rmb. I did spot a nice white linen shirt for 199 rmb, but all the small sizes had sold out and I didn’t fancy the other colours on offer. I’ll have to see if the branch near my office has any left.
After spending a couple of hours at UniQlo, I wandered over to M&S to pick up a few bits and pieces (fish fingers, sausage rolls, chicken jalfrezi and some tea bags for those who are interested). The store wasn’t exactly dead, but the contrast between M&S and UniQlo was quite noticeable and M&S clearly could learn a thing or two from its new Nanjing Road neighbour.
969 Nanjing Xi Lu (near Mao Ming Lu)