Uniqlo reviews £2m account ahead of expansion

LONDON - Fashion chain Uniqlo is reviewing its pan-European ad business, estimated to be worth £2m, ahead of a return to its suspended UK expansion programme.

The Japanese discount-fashion retailer intends to expand its estate of eight stores in the South-East to about 25 and is planning to relaunch its Oxford Street flagship this month.

At its peak in 2002, Uniqlo had 21 UK stores, but was forced to close some after poor sales. Earlier this year, Tadashi Yanai, chief executive of Uniqlo owner Fast Retailing, admitted that the firm had made mistakes in its previous effort to expand.

The winning agency will work closely with Uniqlo's Japanese agency, Dentsu, to rework its Japanese work for the European market. The strategy has been dubbed internally as 'inside out' and it is believed the £2m ad budget could rise to £10m. Uniqlo's most recent ad agency was Euro RSCG London, in 2005.

The revamped Oxford Street store has been designed by Uniqlo's Tokyo headquarters and is expected to differ from its Regent Street store, whose look was created by Conran Design.

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