By now, it’s no surprise that UNIQLO’s opening its first store in Western Canada at Metropolis at Metrotown. We’re sure you’ve been waiting for quite a while to get your hands on their infamous HEATTECH or year-old BLOCKTECH technology shirts, that keep you extra warm.
Meeting the Founder
What I want to talk about is what an honour and privilege it was to meet Mr Tadashi Yanai himself. Last year I learned that one of Mr Yanai’s tenets that’s posted at the UNIQLO head offices is, “Change or Die” and I’ve been a fan ever since, thinking how great it would be to meet him sometime during my lifetime. Lo and behold, a year later I finally got to meet him. I told him my story and it was received with a warm chuckle—I made the founder of UNIQLO laugh?!
1. Must Buy Item: Wireless Bra
The store’s 20,800 square feet of retail space is filled with wonderfully affordable, stylish, and good quality items. Having shopped at UNIQLO in 3 different countries, including its 12 floor GINZA flagship, I wouldn’t call myself an expert, but the wireless bras are a tried and true favourite. I don’t know how they do it, but the foamy bra is supportive and does not feel constraining at all.
2. Please Peruse: The JW Anderson Collection
I was so excited to see the JW Anderson collection I forgot to take photos! But please, trust that it’s amazing and that it looks better in person. The one piece I bought at UNIQLO was from this collection, but I’m not telling which one – yet! Head up the stairs to the second floor and you’ll see that there’s something you want to take home with you.
3. Japanese Customer Service #1
The sales team was trained for one to two months ahead of opening, which is a lot more time than what I know of having worked at another retailer’s first flagship launch. Expect to be greeted cordially with a cheery, “Welcome to Uniqlo!” The essence of Japanese customer service does not waver given this new store on Canadian soil.
4. The Prices: Are they much higher?
There are a few things we love at UNIQLO and as it is human nature, we couldn’t help but compare the prices we’ve experienced in three countries we’ve shopped UNIQLO. HEATTECH is about $10 in Japan, but it’s double at $20 here. My wool jacket was $100 but it’s $200 here.
That said, the prices are still reasonable considering the alternatives: $400 wool coat at other retailers or $1000 plane ticket to Japan to get HEATTECH for cheaper? Certain items were very well priced, about 30% more than Japan, for example the flannel shirts and a lot of fashion items.
5. Oh, the lineups?!
UNIQLO’s parent company is called Fast Retailing for a reason. From this photo, it looks like there are at least 21 cash registers to serve you faster. While the counter space is not nearly as impressive as other locations, it’s the speed that matters, right?
A Quick Chat with Ivanhoe Cambridge
I’ve yet to transcribe my quick interview with Mr. Claude Sirois, President of Retail at Ivanhoe Cambridge, which owns Metropolis at Metrotown. He’s the gentleman in the purple tie behind Mr. Yanai. Stay tuned!
Visit UNIQLO today!
Doors open today at 10am, so expect to wait in line to get your fill of . There will also be a giveaway of a trip for two to Tokyo (only between 9:30am to 10am!), traditional Japanese Taiko drumming, and a number of special offers.
UNIQLO is located at the Lower Level of the Grand Court at Metropolis at Metrotown (former Home Outfitters area).