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Uniqlo Bets on a Zara-like Model

Speed to market has been credited with Zara’s ability to singlehandedly disrupt retail, so naturally other retailers are looking to ramp up their own production. The latest to attempt accelerated deliveries is Uniqlo.

The Japanese retailer has decided to take Zara on head to head with 13-day turnarounds, according to Bloomberg. And Tadashi Yani, owner of Uniqlo parent Fast Retailing, says that once his company matches Zara’s speed, Uniqlo will have a leg up.

“Zara sells fashion rather than catering to customers’ needs,” Yanai told the publication. “We will sell products that are rooted in people’s day-to-day lives, and we do so based on what we hear from customers.”

One of Zara’s keys to success has been the proximity of its production and distribution facilities, which allows each part of the company to interact seamlessly and quickly. Mimicking that, Uniqlo just opened a design and delivery center in Tokyo that will provide the same benefits. And it plans to copy that format in additional regions globally. The company is also employing artificial intelligence to more accurately deliver on consumer tastes.

Yanai hopes that strategic developments like these will help Uniqlo boost revenue by 70 percent to 3 trillion yen ($26 billion) by August 2021. To reach that goal, the company is focused on Asia, with 200 new stores planned in China and Southeast Asia annually.