(Author : Deena M. Amato-McCoy)
Uniqlo will be popping up at airports and malls across the nation — but not through retail storefronts.
Putting a new spin on the term “fast fashion,” the Japanese retailer is launching 6-ft.-high vending machines that will enable customers to purchase T-shirts and lightweight down jackets, the Wall Street Journal reported. Merchandise is packaged in boxes and cans.
According to the report, Uniqlo intends to roll out 10 of the vending machines to airports and malls over the next two months in several key U.S. cities, including New York and Houston. The first unit launched on Wednesday in the Oakland International Airport.
Marisol Tamaro, Uniqlo’s U.S. marketing chief, told the Wall Street Journal, that the vending machines are a good fit for airports because hurried travelers “don’t have a lot of time to wait in line and explore a store. We’re trying to understand where we can be more successful without making a big commitment.” Customers use a touchscreen to select shirt and jacket styles, colors and sizes. Purchases can be made via credit or debit card, and unwanted items can be returned in-store or via mail.
The move comes after Uniqlo, faced with disappointing sales in its U.S. mall stores, has pulled back on its ambitious expansion plans. The company is using its U.S. flagships and unconventional concepts, such as the vending machines, to drive brand awareness.