- Fast Retailing Co., parent company of Uniqlo, intends to condense design to delivery time to approximately 13 days in order to compete with Zara, another fast fashion conglomerate, Bloomberg reported. Zara is owned by Inditex SA, currently the global leader of fast fashion.
- Uniqlo is determined to increase revenue by roughly 70% to 3 trillion yen ($26 billion) by 2021. Inditex reported earnings of $25 billion in 2016.
- Stores in mid-tier locations will either close or relocate to more upscale property in order to cement the line's new direction as a lifestyle clothing provider. In the last fiscal year, Uniqlo revenues fell to 6% from 20% caused by increased materials costs.
Uniqlo's move to compete with Zara indicates its intent to penetrate both the U.S. and European markets by ramping up collections toward the fast fashion model. To succeed, lead times especially must shrink, a task that requires a new interpretation of production. Everything must go faster: design times, approval times, shipping times, display times, leveraging automation and tracking technology.
While speed is central to the fast fashion ethos, the idea of a 13 day turnaround remains highly unusual. Fast fashion still generally requires 10-14 weeks to create, ship and display, according to Adheer Bahulkar, Partner at A.T. Kearney, a global management consulting firm.The timeline cited by Uniqlo president Tadashi Yanai is equal only to — you guessed it — Zara.
Can Uniqlo reach its goal? Bahulkar believes so. In speaking with Supply Chain Dive, Bahuklar said, "Uniqlo has had years to refine its operations and learn what works and how to do things differently. It's current products are generally basics, so to go from there to fast fashion style is not such a leap."