Dhaka to see first foreign retail outlet in July
Dhaka people will soon see the first international retailer as Japanese clothing giant Uniqlo will open an outlet in the capital in July under a joint venture.
The multi-brand retailer sees business potential in casual dresses among the growing middle class, an official of the company said.
Fast Retailing Co Ltd, the owning company of Uniqlo, will hold 99 percent share in the new company -- Grameen Uniqlo -- and Grameen Healthcare Trust the rest.
“We are ready to open the first outlet on July 5 and will hold a press conference on June 15,” the official told The Daily Star by phone.
“Initially we will open two to three outlets in Dhaka and the number may reach 30 within a year. We also plan to expand outside Dhaka,” the official said, asking not to be named.
The company will sell products such as shirts, trousers and sportswear manufactured in Bangladesh for both men and women, he said.
The company did not disclose any figure of investment.
“Uniqlo views Asia as offering tremendous opportunities for growth, and the company plans to accelerate store openings around the region," the company had said in a statement in February.
Till January, the retailer opened 1,206 stores in 13 markets, including 23 in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand and the Philippines.
Kei Kawano, representative of Japan External Trade Organisation in Dhaka, said Uniqlo has purchased garment items from Bangladesh for long. "They have studied the market very well and finally decided to open stores."
Kawano also said another big Japanese retailer is conducting a study to open outlets in Bangladesh soon.
But he declined to reveal the name of the company.
Grameen Healthcare Trust is a non-profit organisation and provides healthcare services to low-income people in rural areas.
Grameen Healthcare Trust signed the joint venture deal with Uniqlo Social Business Bangladesh Ltd, the social business division of Uniqlo, in December 2010.
However, Fast Retailing Co Ltd for now will not sign a legally binding fire and building safety pact for factories in Bangladesh, preferring to ramp up its own inspections, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday.