If you've ever stepped into the Uniqlo store in Manhattan's Soho district, you're probably familiar with the the brand's offerings of colorful basics at unbelievably low prices displayed in stacks and stacks (and stacks and stacks...) of meticulously folded columns. The Soho location is a monster of a retail operation -- always packed to the brim with hungry customers satiating their longing for affordable cashmere, and slim-cut denim. But if you thought that store was a retail powerhouse, just wait until you see the unveiling of Uniqlo's global flagship, on New York's legendary shopping row, Fifth Avenue. At 89,000 square-feet it will be the largest single retailer on Fifth Avenue and the largest Uniqlo outlet in the world.
This morning we toured the four-floor behemoth (our legs are still sore!). Since it was only open to press at the time, seeing the shop empty really hit home just how gigantic the space is. Take the stairs, escalators, or elevators to tour the sprawling floors filled with neatly folded shirts and denim (though we doubt that the "neatly" part will last for very long). Interior design firm Wonderwall has filled the glass facade with an army of spinning mannequins, and created a maze of cubbys, nooks, and crannys dedicated to special product (like a mirrored hallway for Heat Tech deals, or a full floor honoring the last season of the Jil Sander collaboration, +J, and a enclosed glass room featuring trend-driven items -- to name only a few). To acommodate the guaranteed throngs of shoppers, there are 40 cashier stations, 100 fitting rooms and an average of 400 employees working at any given time, all equipped with a device that will allow them to check stock not on the floor. It may sound silly to wax poetic over a shop, but Uniqlo has really outdone themselves with this one.
As if that were enough, the brand is opening another space -- this one a "mere" 64,000 square-feet -- on 34th Street the following week. Basically, they will now have massive megastores in Manhattan's three most trafficed shopping destinations. Don't trust us, though, take a look at the pictures for yourself.
Uniqlo Fifth Avenue will open on Friday, October 14th at noon. Uniqlo 34th Street will open on Friday, October 21st at noon.