Uniqlo is a very popular brand in Japan. It’s basically the Japanese version of Gap; a chain store that specializes in casual clothing. And it appears that Uniqlo, is going to take the international center stage by buying a section in Barneys New York and challenging GAP USA for a piece of the casual, comfortable and chic clothing marketshare.

Here’s the article from the International Herald Tribune online:

TOKYO: If you haven’t yet heard of Uniqlo, chances are you will soon.

Often called the Gap of Japan, the wildly popular casual apparel chain has taken its homeland by storm and is now turning its ambitions overseas — and upmarket. On Tuesday, Uniqlo’s parent company, Fast Retailing, struck again with a brazen US$900 million (€660 million) takeover bid for luxury chain Barneys New York.

Back home, the down-to-earth Uniqlo brand has soared to success partly because of Japan’s decadelong economic downturn that ended in early 1990s. By focusing on good-quality basics at ultra-low prices, Uniqlo weathered the slump while introducing Japan’s notoriously finicky shoppers to the world of bargains.

Now, Fast Retailing wants to woo overseas converts by going head-to-head with mainstays like the Gap Inc. and Limited Brands. It is opening Uniqlo outlets across Asia and Europe and just christened a mammoth flagship store in Manhattan’s trendy SoHo district. Japan has long been famed for its auto and electronics exports, but this is a rare case of a Japanese retailer making it big abroad.

International Herald Tribune