UNIQLO’s Parent Company Fast Retailing Kicks Off Its First Automated Warehouse In China

February 16,2022

UNIQLO’s parent company Fast Retailing Co., Ltd. (“Fast Retailing”) has recently announced that the company will kick off automated warehouses in China before August 2022.

It is said that this project in the Chinese market is an important part of Fast Retailing’s global investment, with a total investment amount of 100 billion yen. The project will be located in Shanghai and will be used mainly as a distribution center for China’s coastal cities in the future.

In 2016, Fast Retailing started operating the Ariake warehouse located in Tokyo. In October 2018, the Group announced its establishment of global strategic partnership with logistic company Daifuku. In the same year, Ariake warehouse achieved full automation and 24-hour-operation. The total number of staff was downsized by 90%.

In 2019, Fast Retailing signed an agreement of global strategic partnership with two robotics startups——the Japanese robot controller manufacturer MUJIN Inc. and the French Exotec Solutions SAS, to further improve sorting and delivery efficiency.

Fast Retailing has predicted that under the current circumstances, i.e., shortage of human resources in the global logistics industry, building large-scale automation facilities will save more costs. Fast Retailing’s Japanese CFO Takeshi Okazaki pointed out that shortage of human resources overseas can be even more pressing than that in Japan.

As of now, Fast Retailing has already built automated warehouses in Japan, U.S., Europe and Australia, among which, the second automated warehouse in Osaka, Japan has already been in use since autumn 2020. Most orders in Honshu and Shikoku can now be delivered the next day. It used to take 5 days to deliver.

As of the financial year ended August 2021, online sales of Fast Retailing has reached 380 billion yen, accounting for 18% of the company’s total revenue. The group’s mid-to-long term goal is to increase the number to over 30%. As to regions, in 2020, online orders in the U.S. market accounted for 40% of the total regional sales, whereas in Europe and China, sales from online orders took up around 20%.

As of the financial year ended August 2021, UNIQLO’s overseas sales reached 930.1 billion yen, among which 20% came from online sales. Fast Retailing pointed out that overseas market is continuing to boost performance growth and building a global network of automated warehouses will be the key for future development.

| Photo Credit: Uniqlo Website

| Writer: Lemeng Sun


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