January 26, 2015 / 4:28 PM / 4 years ago

Japanese retailer Uniqlo plans Canadian entry in fall 2016

A woman walks past a logo of casual clothing store Uniqlo operated by Japan's Fast Retailing in Tokyo July 9, 2009. REUTERS/Issei Kato

TORONTO (Reuters) - Uniqlo will open its first Canadian stores in the fall of 2016, the Japanese clothing company said on Monday, as part of a broader push to become the world’s top fashion retailer.

Known for its inexpensive but trendy down jackets, jeans and undergarments, Uniqlo, which has 1,500 stores worldwide, will be opening stores in Toronto at two of North America’s top performing malls, Yorkdale Shopping Centre and Eaton Centre [OTPPBC.UL].

The news comes less than two weeks after Target Corp’s (TGT.N) surprise announcement that it will pull out of Canada, shuttering 133 stores and putting 17,000 employees out of work.

Still, Target’s multi-billion-dollar failure has not dissuaded others, and Uniqlo’s arrival will coincide with the openings of U.S. luxury department store Nordstrom Inc (JWN.N) at the same Toronto locations.

The Japanese retailer’s flagship Toronto stores will be 24,000 square feet and 28,000 square feet, respectively. Uniqlo also plans to launch in Vancouver at a later date.

Owned by Fast Retailing Co Ltd (9983.T), the world’s fourth-largest fashion retailer, Uniqlo opened its first store in Japan in 1984. The company’s 1,500 stores worldwide include more than three dozen in the United States.

Reporting by Solarina Ho; Editing by Jeffrey Hodgson and Bernadette Baum

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