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Uniqlo Closes Store

Uniqlo parent company Fast Retailing said Monday that it had shuttered the brand’s online store on Chinese e-commerce site after just three months.

The inexpensive Japanese clothier opened a flagship store on the marketplace platform in April for what a Fast Retailing spokeswoman has called a trial run, though a press release at the time made no mention of a test period. Uniqlo even designed special “Born in China” T-shirts for the occasion and became the first international apparel brand on to warehouse its merchandise in the company’s facilities.

“Uniqlo determined that a presence on was not in line with the company’s China e-commerce strategy,” the spokeswoman told Reuters. “We realized that it is best for us to take a step back.”

She did not divulge how the site performed in that time but insisted the company is committed to the Chinese market. Meanwhile, a spokesman said Uniqlo had surpassed its sales goals in the first month of operation.

The brand’s sudden departure from the platform has sent the rumor mill into overdrive with assumptions abounding that it was under pressure from rival Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. to shutter the e-store (Uniqlo has had a presence on Alibaba’s Tmall since 2009) but the company has denied any connection to the closure.

As of June 30, Uniqlo had 368 stores in China and is bullish on expansion, with plans to have as many as 1,000 locations within five years.