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Uniqlo's highly anticipated e-commerce launch is just a week away, but the bigger surprise is that they're considering moving their global digital HQ from Japan to the US, specifically—you guessed it—as close to Silicon Valley as humanly possible. The one-part fashion, two-part tech company's U.S. general manager, Shin Odake, told WWD, "The fact that our San Francisco store is close to Silicon Valley was very attractive. We want to establish a relationship with the U.S. high-tech industry. We hope to learn from the U.S. market and make our Web experience better than it is today." So that could explain why that West Coast store opening happened before an online opening.
Since it launched e-commerce in Europe in 2010, the company continually hinted that there were reasons for taking it slow in the US. First they had to establish a brand presence here, which they've done in a big way with store openings from coast-to-coast, collaborations with some of America's favorite designers, and ad campaigns featuring everyone from Leandra Medine to Joe Montana. Now, post San Fran opening, Odake notes, "Global e-commerce is headquartered in Japan, but we're open to moving the global headquarters to the U.S. We feel there's more talent and more knowledge in the U.S." What's more, while Uniqlo made America wait for e-commerce, the platform developed here could impact it's global online presence, or as Uniqlo's president and company grand poobah Tadashi Yanai said, "At first, we'll build an e-commerce model in the U.S., then, we're thinking of bringing that same model to other countries around the world."
Here's what you can expect from the site: A larger size and color selection than what's found in the store, like a whopping 115 sizes online for men's "easy-care" to the store's six sizes. Holy moly, do humans come in that many sizes? Regardless, Uniqlo is also bringing back $9.90 Japanese engineered denim and cashmere sweaters for under a hundo.
Update: A previous version of this article reported that Uniqlo's relocation of their e-commerce headquarters was confirmed. However, the company's general manager is instead "open" to the idea. So here's hoping.
· Uniqlo to Launch U.S. E-commerce Site [Racked]
· Is Uniqlo Having a Fashion Identity Crisis? [Racked]
· Uniqlo Doesn't Think Fashion and Technology Are Mutually Exclusive [Racked]