Uniqlo is a casualwear chain owned by Fast Retailing of Japan, one of the world’s largest fashion retailers. 

Fast Retailing has greatly increased its focus on using technology to optimise its operations. This includes a partnership with Google, through which the retailer is using Artificial Intelligence to optimise its inventory, predict trends and speed up its processes.

Recent projects have also included the global rollout of RFID tags, to aid inventory management and gain customer insights.

Uniqlo sees itself as a technology company as much as a fashion retailer due to its focus on technical products and use of innovative fabrics.

Driven by its LifeWear concept for ultimate everyday clothes, Uniqlo offers unique products made from high-quality, highly functional materials, and offers them at reasonable prices by managing everything from procurement and design to production and retail sales. 

It currently trades through 16 stores in the UK, after a flurry of openings in 2019, including its first stores outside Greater London in Manchester and Watford.

The opening of global flagship stores elsewhere in Europe remains a priority however, with Uniqlo Europe having entered Sweden and the Netherlands in 2018, Denmark and Italy in 2019 and Poland in 2022. The retailer now has stores across nine mainland European countries and ecommerce sites serving a total of 26 European markets.

Innovation rating: 3

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