Early-bird Uniqlo sale celebrates founding
The Uniqlo chain held an early-morning sale at about 400 stores Saturday to mark the 60th anniversary of the founding of its operator, with more than 2,000 people lining up before dawn outside its flagship store in Tokyo's Ginza district.
More than half of Uniqlo's domestic stores, which are operated by Fast Retailing Co., took part in the early-morning sale that started at 6 a.m.
"Ampan" sweet bean-paste buns and milk were served to the first 100 people visiting the sale at stores nationwide, in a nod to the opening of Uniqlo's first shop in Hiroshima in 1984 when customers were served breakfast.
Some products at the stores were subject to price cuts in a limited quantity, with the price of a pair of men's socks cut to ¥10 and the price of Heat Tech thermal inner wear reduced to ¥600 from ¥1,500.
The Uniqlo chain also began a lottery in which customers receive one ticket for each ¥5,000 worth of products bought. A total of 100,000 winning tickets will be issued, each worth ¥10,000.
"I began to line up at 11:30 p.m. Friday, wearing Uniqlo underwear to prevent the cold," said Sho Miyazaki, 19, a company worker in Tokyo who was first in line at the Ginza store. "I want to buy as much as ¥5,000 worth of products."
In 1949, Hitoshi Yanai, father of Fast Retailing President and Uniqlo chief Tadashi Yanai, started selling men's clothing when he founded Men's Shop Ogori Shoji in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Tadashi Yanai assumed the company's helm in 1984 and eventually changed the firm's name to Fast Retailing in 1991.
Fast Retailing logged record-high group sales and operating profit for the business year to Aug. 31, with the low-priced Uniqlo casual wear chain enjoying brisk sales as consumers seek out bargains amid the recession.