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Want to Go Clothes Shopping? Visit a Uniqlo Vending Machine

Want to Go Clothes Shopping? Visit a Uniqlo Vending Machine TechDigg (08/06/17) McKalin, Vamien

While online shopping for apparel continues to gain in popularity, there are still many occasions where people just need or want to go out and buy something to wear that day. Uniqlo wants to tap into this market with vending machines, believed to be a first for clothes shopping. The Japanese company plans to have up to 10 of its vending machines in place and operation across the United States in the next two months. The idea is to have these devices situated at shopping malls in Houston, Oakland, and other cities and also in airports. Uniqlo is not new to the U.S. market. When a chain of stores failed to gain serious traction in this country, however, it came up with the plan to have vending machines placed in several areas nationwide.

The consumer market is changing rapidly, and Uniqlo is among the retailers trying new innovations to keep pace. Uniqlo will still operate its brick-and-mortar stores, but there are no plans to construct the 200 or so retail locations by the end of this decade as originally envisioned. "The brand penetration in big cities such as New York, San Francisco and Chicago -- where we will open a new store -- is good, but not in the suburbs," concedes Fast Retailing CEO Tadashi Yanai. Currently, 44 stores are enough. As for the type of apparel Uniqlo plans to sell via its vending machines, it will be mainly jackets initially.