Uniqlo: Re-Examining American Expansion
(9 pages of text)
Case (Pub Mat)
Japan's number-one apparel brand and retailer, Uniqlo Co. Ltd. (Uniqlo), built its business by delivering high-quality basic casual clothing at low prices. Uniqlo's founder and chief executive officer of Uniqlo's parent company, Fast Retailing, stated that his goal was to become the world's number-one apparel retailer. He argued that success in the U.S. market was crucial to meeting this goal; yet, Uniqlo USA was not doing well. In mid-2017, after more than a decade of efforts, Uniqlo USA had relatively few stores and continued to lose money. As the gap between its goals and performance continued to diverge, the company needed to re-examine its U.S.-based business and potentially its globalization strategy altogether.
The case is suited for use in an undergraduate- or graduate-level course on capstone strategy, international management, or international retailing. The considerable complexity of Uniqlo’s situation allows students to integrate issues across several areas. The case examines competitive strategy across national boundaries and can be used to bolster students' abilities to apply strategic management concepts to international markets. Students are assumed to have a basic understanding of supply chain management, inventory management, or retail management. After working through the case and assignment questions, student will be able to do the following:
- Identify the various business models used in the apparel business, and discuss the strategic implications of each.
- Perform competitive analyses and apply frameworks, such as the value-price-cost framework and the value chain, in comparing relevant firms in an industry.
- Identify how a company's home country experiences can shape the company's view of strategy and affect its organizational capabilities.
- Appreciate how the home country and country of origin may provide both opportunities and challenges in entering new markets.
Japan; United States, Large, 2017
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