Uniqlo set to launch in Chicago

Casual fashion retailer Uniqlo is set to launch its first Midwest store on Chicago's Michigan Avenue.

The 60,000 sq. ft. store, opening Oct. 23, will expand over three floors in the former location of a Filene's Basement, Chicago Tribune reported. This will be the second largest Uniqlo store in the United States, just behind the New York flagship.

The store will include a long escalator, which takes 85 seconds to ride from top to bottom.

"To open in the Midwest, it had to be Chicago, and it had to be in the right location on Michigan Avenue," Larry Meyer, CEO of Uniqlo USA, told Chicago Tribune. The 830 N. Michigan Ave. address is close to Water Tower Place.

Uniqlo entered the U.S. 10 years ago and now has 40 stores. Officials have been looking for the perfect retail space in Chicago for years.

The space will showcase items in hopes of boosting the company's Web sales. Mannequins will be featured in display cases, similar to a museum look. The store will stock 50 colors of men's socks and 20 colors of sweaters, displayed floor to ceiling. A Starbucks will also live in-store, like the one in the New York location.

To enhance the omnichannel experience, Uniqlo will test out an in-store app to reach customers while they are shopping. The app may include styling tips, discounts and a store map.

Outside of the United States, Uniqlo has 1,600 stores in 16 markets, and has nearly doubled in the past year. The company has plans for two flagships in Toronto that will open later this year and into next year.

In the U.S., expansion has concentrated mostly on the coasts. There are no immediate plans for additional Midwest locations.

For more:
-See this Chicago Tribune article

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