Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo is on the hunt for larger London stores as it seeks to strengthen its position in the UK market.

The retailer, which has 13 shops all in the southeast, wants to open stores sized 20,000 sq ft to 30,000 sq ft in London. The average store size is currently 10,000 sq ft.

Uniqlo will close some of its smaller stores as it opens the new larger formats, although it is not known which ones will shut.

Uniqlo will open a 20,000 sq ft store in Westfield Stratford next year, and earlier this month it opened its first store outside London in Bluewater.

It is understood Uniqlo’s long-term plans include store openings around the country.

Earlier this month Uniqlo’s Japanese parent Fast Retailing said it expected its profits to fall next year as global competition toughens. It said it anticipates operating profit to fall 14.3% to ¥113.5bn (£878.6m)for the year to August 2011, despite a 21.9% increase in operating profit in the year ending in August.

Fast Retailing has more than 800 stores in Japan and about 150 internationally, including the UK.

This is the second attempt at breaking the UK market for Uniqlo after it over expanded and closed the majority of its 23 shops in 2001.

Property agent Harper Dennis Hobbs acts for the retailer.