04 May 2012


While I was in New York, I made sure to visit Uniqlo's new global flagship store, which opened about six months ago. It's on Fifth Avenue right around the corner from the Museum of Modern Art.

At 89,000 square feet, it's quite enormous, though when you first walk in off the street it's a bit deceptive, as all you see at first are three escalators, all going upward, with small selling areas on either side. The best thing is just to jump on one of those escalators and ride all the way up to the third floor, which is much larger than either of the two floors below it.

The selling floor up there seems to keep on going almost infinitely; I kept turning corners and finding more stuff, without even straying into the women's section. At the same time, the environment wasn't overwhelming, as the Soho store can sometimes feel. I think this is because this store is so large, everything is somewhat more spread out, making shopping more comfortable.

I roamed around for a while, just taking in all of it, before starting to shop in earnest. There are almost always promotions being offered on certain items; last week, all T-shirts were half-price, and buying two got you a free admission ticket to MoMA. Button-front plaid and checked shirts, usually $30, were $20, which encouraged me to buy two.

The Soho store suffers from a relative scarcity of dressing rooms, but that isn't a problem here. I recall reading when this store opened that there are 100 dressing rooms. Personally, I'm much more likely to buy something and then go back to my hotel room to try it on (I did that this time with some pants, which I ended up needing to exchange), but that's just me, and it's still nice to know that a dressing room is more likely to be available if needed.

Another great thing about this store is that it's loaded with staff. They are fairly easy to spot, and you may be approached before you even need to ask a question by a friendly staffer asking if you would like a bag to hold your potential purchases while you make your way around the store.

Uniqlo has plans to start opening stores in other US cities; this fall they will open their first West Coast store, in San Francisco. Meanwhile, if you are visiting New York, you really should make a point to see this store.

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