On Friday October 5th, Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo will open its wildly anticipated West Coast flagship store near Union Square in San Francisco. This morning, the discount retailer treated members of the local media to a tour behind the plywood on Powell Street, where an army of brightly colored and cashmere-clad mannequins are braced for the impeding flood of holiday shoppers.
In total, Uniqlo's parent company Fast Retailing USA hired roughly 500 employees for the new store, not including the 80 or so street team employees who have been out pounding pavement to get the word out. Most of those 500 hires, our guide on this morning's preview tour joked, will be busy tidying the shelves of immaculately folded sweaters. By comparison, the store has 91 mannequins.
As anyone who has been out in San Francisco at any point in the past month or so will have noticed, Uniqlo has covered the city with advertising. (Did you spot the Uniqlo Zeppelin? The Uniqlo double-decker buses?) Perhaps as an apology for repeatedly distracting local web readers with the Internet's most famous cat, many items will be discounted during the grand opening and they're just giving away canvas tote bags to help cope with the current $0.10 grocery bag tax.
The store officially opens at 111 Powell Street, Friday, October 5th at 10 a.m. after a brief ribbon cutting ceremony from Mayor Lee.