The good news: There's a Uniqlo open on our coast.
The bad: It isn't in Seattle.
For over a year now we've heard whispers that the Japanese fast-fashion brand was headed our way. But will we ever actually see a Seattle Uniqlo? Might we just have to settle for a Zara? Here's a rundown of all the rumors:
Sparks started flying in March, 2012 when we reported that simplyhired.com had posted a job listing asking Seattle-based retail management candidates to submit resumes to Uniqlo. Two months later the Simply Hired post reappeared; a New York twitter user heard a Seattle store rumor while shopping in NYC; and Uniqlo corporate shot it down. It was all very confusing.
In October, 2012 the cult-followed Japanese fast-fashion brand launched its first West Coast location in San Francisco. Prior to the opening, the San Francisco Gate ran an interview with Uniqlo CEO Tadashi Yanaiaka (a.k.a. the wealthiest man in Japan) who said, though not in quotes, that Los Angeles and Seattle were up next for openings. Add a check to the yes column.
Hoping to finally put rumors to rest—okay, hoping that someone would confirm that there's a Celia Birtwell for Uniqlo floral blouse in our future—we reached out to the brand's corporate contact over the weekend. On February 11, 2013 Nancy Goldstein of Burson-Marsteller, Uniqlo's stateside PR firm, had this to say:
"Uniqlo is actively looking at potential locations around the country to reach their goal of $10 billion in sales in the U.S. by 2020. That said, the only new U.S. stores they have currently announced are two stores opening this spring in the New York area at Palisades Center in West Nyack and Westchester's Ridge Hill in Yonkers."
Bummer. But we would like to point out the encouraging phrases "actively looking" and "opening this spring." Could we maybe see a storefront this fall? Or next year, even?
We'll keep our eyes and ears open for any new developments. Have some insider info? Let us know in the comments section below.