A world famous apparel brand Uniqlo plans to outsource textile garments from three Pakistani companies for its more than 3,000 outlets worldwide, people familiar with the matter said. Uniqlo Inc – a subsidiary of Japanese retail holding company Fast Retailing Inc. – has planned joint venture with three local companies, which would boost textile exports, an official told. Uniqlo initially selected five textile companies in Lahore, Faisalabad, and Karachi and sent its two member team to meet their representatives and assess the potential.
“The initial visit of the Uniqlo team has been successful, which is a big breakthrough,” the official said, requesting anonymity. Uniqlo finally chose three companies for joint ventures in Pakistan. “They still requested for some more companies for shirt fabric and others for circular cutting and sewing,” the official added.
Pakistan’s textile exports rose around nine per cent to $13.53 bn for the fiscal year ended June 30, which account for more than 60 per cent of the country’s total exports. Yet, Pakistan has lost its textile export share in the world market to 1.7 per cent from 2.2 per cent over the last decade.
In February, Spanish Inditex Group, the world’s biggest clothes retailer and owner of an internationally-acclaimed fashion brand Zara, opened its maiden branch office in Pakistan to double its imports from the country. Other key foreign buying houses in the country include IKEA, Walmart Global Procurement, Li and Fung Pakistan, Target and JC Penny.
The official said Uniqlo’s team planned another trip to Pakistan by end of the current month to conclude agreements with the local factories made in August. Uniqlo is a household name In Japan and known for very high quality products at low price. The brand is known for maintaining on-ground presence for quality control. “Therefore, any significant move by Uniqlo into Pakistan for investment and procurement will generate a ripple effect… it will boost textile export. From its factories, Uniqlo supplies apparels to its more than 3,000 sales outlets all across the world,” the official added.
Fast Retailing is considered as the world’s third largest apparel manufacturer-retailer company. The company has 236 manufacturing factories and all are in Asia. Several are located in China and Bangladesh. Uniqlo has 3,370 sales outlets across the world and its total annual turnover is almost equal to $17 bn.