UNIQLO announces plans for the DC Metro area – Far From CityCenter

Photo by PoPville flickr user nevermindtheend

Thanks to a reader for sending from WKRG:

“UNIQLO, the global apparel retailer and creator of LifeWear – innovative, high-quality clothing that is universal in design and promotes comfort – today announced its next stage of expansion along the East and West Coasts and in the Central Region of the United States. The brand will:

Open stores in the Seattle, Denver and DC Metro area for the first time

Marking the brand’s entry in the DC Metro area, UNIQLO will open its first store at Tyson’s Corner Center.

The Tysons Corner Center attracts tens of millions of shoppers each year from around the world, and UNIQLO will present its latest collections in a total store space of approximately 10,000 square feet.”

68 Comment

  • Well, it’s better than Springfield at least.

  • justinbc

    LOL, at least now people will shut up with the rumors and demands.

  • FINALLYYYYY even if it is Tysons… I can stock up on heat tech for next winter at last!

  • I personally don’t like this, but as a business decision for the company this location makes a lot of sense.

  • Honestly, Uniqlo is too down-market for CityCentre. You think visiting foreigners (who are taking advantage of low US sales taxes on luxury goods) want to rub shoulders with the poors? Nope.

    • I don’t think anyone is coming to the U.S. just so they can shop at a Japanese clothing chain.

      Certainly Asian tourists won’t care, as there are already 300+ stores in China, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, etc.

      • Luxury goods are priced 50% higher in China and Middle East than in the U.S for the same exact product. The U.S. is a downright bargain for these people (or their kids) who are traveling through DC. Why pay USD $20K for a bag back in China when I can buy it for $10K when I’m passing through DC in a few weeks? I’m not talking about billionaire rich; I’m talking about millionaires who are diplomats or businessmen. They are still price sensitive and enjoy the allure of getting a deal.
        In addition to it being a safe place to park their excess money, I honestly think a major reason the Qataris built this development is because they wanted something more convenient for luxury shopping. Ain’t no one got time to trek out to Tyson’s, even if it is on the road to IAD.

        • Luxury goods? I thought Uniqlo was a cheap clothing chain, akin to H&M. I had no idea they sold $10,000 bags.

          • Um, aren’t you two saying the same thing here? That CityCenter is luxury shopping for visiting foreigners, and Uniqlo isn’t luxury shopping and therefore doesn’t belong in CityCenter?

    • The New York locations are constantly swamped with tourists from all over. Tyson’s is a great location for them — it’s a family friendly store – better quality than H&M and Target.

    • City Center needs a mix of retail tenants to drive up foot traffic. We don’t want it to be like Tyson’s 2/Galleria in McLean, which feels empty 360 days of the year. There aren’t enough Longchamp shoppers to fill up the City Center space and make it truly vibrant. Having a strong mid-market retail tenant would be great there. I hope they can pull someone in!

  • It is the first of many… they will have stores in Georgetown, Montgomery Mall, Penn Qtr, etc. in the next year or so. No different from H&M, F21 and Zara. They are actively negotiating leases right now and have been working with a DC broker to find locations for many months. Sadly Uniqlo is going from 0 to 60 too fast… it will be just another mall store shortly (as it is in the NYC area already) imho.

    • I don’t necessarily agree. Uniqlo has been in the US for nearly 10 years (I think) and is only located in a few cities in the country. They’re growing, but are hardly “another mall store”. And there’s nothing really that wrong with said mall store as a place to pick up specific essentials. I like Banana Republic casual shirts, but don’t buy anything else there. Just like I like Uniqlo boxers, HeatTech, undershirts, and stupid puffy jackets.

      I think it would be fun to see them in a unique part of town, where you don’t find large retailers, like north DuPont or in one of those new buildings around 9:30 Club.

      • They doubled their store footprint last year. When they go into a city, they open up several locations, in the highest-traffic locations.

        Also, apparel retailers (much more so than other categories) rely on cross-traffic, so they have a strong incentive to cluster. Just like you, most shoppers don’t buy all their clothes from one store — they mix and match, and like to do that within one shopping trip instead of traipsing all over town.

  • Are there any big spots of 10,000 sq feet available downtown? The crazy thing about downtown DC is we have blocks upon blocks upon blocks of office buildings, but not much actual retail space. There is the old ESPN zone space in metrocenter and then a bunch of little spaces on Conn Ave. Maybe the old Talbots space would be big enough?

    • Yes… several buildings are being repositioned to add significant retail space (Techworld — adding 100K sf, Jemal’s stuff on 7th for example)… often times you can use lower level or second floor spaces. The retail rents are better than office now… landlords are getting creative to take advantage of the strong demand for retail.

    • 10,000 is relatively small.

    • A standalone Uniqlo flagship (i.e. not in a mall) would likely need around 30,000 square feet to be feasible (just for comparison, its center city Philly store is 29,000 square feet). A typical mall Uniqlo is a little over 15,000 square feet. I agree with another commenter that Uniqlo is too down market for CityCenter but could be a good location for Chinatown, Connecticut Ave (south Dupont), Georgetown or possibly Friendship Heights. Frankly I don’t see Tyson’s Corner as a big problem. How often do people need to go to Uniqlo? I only need to go there a couple times a year, at most — once for warm weather clothes and once for cool weather clothes.

    • Yup, as mentioned, a lot of downtown office landlords are clearing out basement storage rooms, 2nd floor offices, and other marginal spaces to create larger, more usable retail spaces. It used to be that landlords made all the money on offices, and only retailers selling steaks, sandwiches, sundries, or savings accounts were brought in to serve the worker bees. Now, downtown finally has the foot traffic to support real retail, and the supply is beginning to catch up.

      10,000 feet isn’t that large — a bit smaller than the “typical” CVS (13,000 feet). As with H&M, Uniqlo often does larger flagships downtown; here’s hoping the downtown shop carries that considerably larger range, like men’s blazers. Doug Jemal has a couple of flagship retail opportunities coming up right on F Street, like the old Platinum nightclub (a bit small at 10K), or what will be the ex-Spy Museum as of 2017 (25K).

  • palisades

    Awesome for Uniqlo, but damn do I never want to make the trek to the hellhole of traffic that is Tyson’s.

    • take the metro. there’s a walkway directly into the mall.

      • palisades

        Do you see my username? Let me just get on the imaginary metro right by my apartment

        • A soundtrack of tiny violins will accompany your 20-minute straight shot down MacArthur & Chain Bridge. It’s at least a 50% longer drive for most of us (who have to get across downtown DC or RCP), which is why we’re excited about Metro!

          • palisades

            Oh my god what is with the snarkyness on this thread? Let’s not pretend that driving is any easier around that area on a Saturday afternoon.
            Also, I don’t have and never stated any issues with the Metro, it’s just that I don’t have any easy access to it.

    • Good news! There is now a metro station right in front of the mall!

      • Sorry, but one Metro station does not an accessible area make. It takes around an hour to Metro to Tyson’s from most of the D.C. neighborhoods where Uniqlo’s customer base is likely to live (i.e. east of 16th St NW). And that assumes that Metro is actually working and there aren’t any weekend/evening construction delays. No one who lives in the city is going to spend an entire Saturday at the mall when they can order online.

        • That’s a bit of an exaggeration. Tyson’s is a massive headache regardless of how you get there from the city. I live on the north green line (i.e. requiring a transfer to the silver line) and have made multiple weekend trips out to Tyson’s without it consuming an entire day. The 45 minute train ride is annoying, but a drive out there is practically that long anyway. Sure, you have to watch the track work, but that’s true when you use metro to go anywhere on the weekends. I do prefer to buy online with some stores, but I’ve found Uniqlo’s sizing to be really unpredictable and strange, so I am glad there will be one that I can access on metro.

          • That 45 minute train ride is assuming that you live right at the metro stop, and don’t have to wait for the train at all. Most of us still live at the very least a few blocks away from the metro, and there are times that if you JUST miss the train, you could have up to 25 minutes to wait for the next one. Over an hour is what I’d expect to get to Tyson’s from where I live, with the nearest metro being Dupont Circle.

        • I hate shopping online, and I have already made two trips out to Tyson’s on the metro to go shopping. Yes, it took about 40-45 minutes to get out there, but I don’t have a car, so it was the only way. Also, I imagine lots of people (especially younger people) living in Arlington, Foggy Bottom, Georgetown, and other areas that are shorter to get out there will be into Uniqlo as well. Not sure why their market is limited to east of 16th.

          • I never said that their customer base was *limited* to areas east of 16th. I said that among people living in the city, their customer base is most likely to live in parts of the District that make taking Metro to Tyson’s impractical.
            I am sure that Uniqlo will do just fine in NoVA given that there are also lots of young people living there. But lack of convenient access for younger people in the city means that at best it will be an occasional destination for them – and many just won’t see the point in going there at all. The company seems to be expanding quickly and is rumored to be looking to open another location in the District; hopefully that is true.

        • I think the point was just that driving is no longer the only way to get to Tyson’s. I don’t think anyone who lives in DC would consider Tyson’s “accessible” except in the most literal sense.

        • Despite owning a car, we made a weekend Silver Line trip from downtown to Tyson’s on a Saturday last month to try it out. It was remarkably pleasant and convenient. I doubt it took more than 10-15 min more than driving, and was well worth not dealing with mall traffic and parking. Plenty of folks got on and off, too, so I think that “no one who lives in the city” statement is not accurate. I’m fairly certain the station weekend usage numbers back that up, too.

        • When I’m at Tyson’s on the weekend, I see tons of cars with DC plates. Not everybody in DC is limited to public transit. And if Uniqlo is as special and wonderful as this blog’s commenters make it out to be, you had better bet that there will be carloads of twenty-somethings from east of 16th Street heading out to Tyson’s every Saturday.

        • When I’m at Tyson’s on the weekend, I see tons of cars with DC plates. Not everybody in DC is limited to public transit. And if Uniqlo is as special and wonderful as this blog’s commenters make it out to be, you had better bet that there will be carloads of twenty-somethings from east of 16th Street heading out to Tyson’s every Saturday.

      • palisades

        Good news! You can’t read! I live in the palisades! No Metro! I love when people are condescending!

    • I live “in the city.” I trek out to Tyson’s on weekends a few times a year. It’s 35 minutes on the weekends if that. About the same amount of time it takes me to get to Friendship Heights from downtown on some day. Parking is tight in Tyson’s, but never impossible. It’s not that big of a deal to get “way out there.”

      • It may depend on the route and what is going on. The beltway is often a problem and frankly 66 always has traffic now – there is no real no traffic time except late at night. Saturday when I went out there was a huge 8 car accident and they were backed up with little getting by and this was 11 am on a Saturday. Luckily I was on the Metro. Sure the ride took a bit but not as long as those poor people who were sitting in accident traffic long before and after I flew over them.

      • SouthwestDC

        I’ve only been to Tyson’s once, but I got stuck in a line of cars for over an hour (no exaggeration!) trying to park. I guess it’s better on weekends but I doubt I’ll be trying again.

      • The difficulty of getting to Tyson’s from inside the District is a common over-exaggeration among people here. I’m guessing that a friend of a friend went out there on Christmas Eve one time when traffic and parking were really bad, so now that’s the basis for everybody’s estimates of how long it takes to travel there.

        • I used to commute to Tysons 5 days a week and I thought it was f’ing awful. I’d have to be pretty desperate to go out there to shop. For what’s it’s worth, Google maps says it would take me 45 minutes to get there right now.

        • It depends on what you’re going there for. If Tyson’s is where you have to go everyday to earn a living, you make it work. If you have a specialized doctor out there who you love, it’s probably worth the trip. But all that travel to buy clothes, when you can get similar clothes closer to home, is not really worth it.

        • Oh, you sweet summer child. Not everybody who lives in the District has access to a car. And even though it’s open to the metro now, not everybody lives right next to the metro to make it a quick and easy ride. If you live 5 blocks or more from the metro, it can easily be over an hour to get to Tyson’s from the city.

    • Seems like it would take just as long to drive from the Palisades to City Center as it would take to drive to Tysons.

      • palisades

        1. I never said I wanted one in City Center.
        2. I wouldn’t drive if it was in CityCenter.
        3. A bus stop is right outside my apartment that would take me downtown in 20-30 min.
        4. It’s not about how long it takes, it’s about traffic. Tyson’s has some of the worst traffic in this area.
        5. If we are talking about time, to get to Tyson’s via public transportation from my apartment would take anywhere from an hour to an hour and a half.

    • And yet Tyson’s remain viable despite all the whining. It makes sense as a first location for a “destination” store.

  • Booooooooo. I’m not buying the space issue. If they can make it work in SOHO, they can do it in DC. Granted, it doesn’t fit in with the brands at City Center, but are down-market tourists really trekking out to Tysons?

  • I Dont Get It

    I heard scuttlebutt that they are thinking of opening a DC location at Spring Valley Shopping Center.

    • This makes me think that what they’re trying to avoid is hordes of kids, of the type that can be found at inner city malls, hanging out at their stores.
      But Spring Valley over, say, Georgetown? Really. Makes no sense whatsoever.

  • Well, I can’t help but think this is a poor decision given all the high end retail in CityCenter and the downmarket retail all around the perimeter. But, hopefully they are planning on a store inside the District.

    • City Center is too upscale, but this would have worked further South near H&M, J Crew, Forever 21, etc.

      • Yes. I agree. Uniqlo isn’t a fit for City Centre but is perfect for the areas slightly East and South where Zara, Anthropologie and H&M are. Sooner or later – as more and more retailers set up – people will feel that it is all one shopping district from City Centre through to Chinatown. It will be perfect to have a full gamut of upscale stores to more everyday inexpensive stores.

        Not sure why people on this blog complain about how high-end City Centre is. It begins to sound like people with chips on shoulders. I can’t afford to shop for much at City Centre but I definitely want nicer stores like that in my area. It is good for economy, DC sales and real property tax revenues and a whole lot more.

      • SouthwestDC

        That area is where I always go for clothes shopping, and I’d definitely add UNIQLO to my rotation if it were there. But I wouldn’t travel out to Tyson’s just for that one store. I’m sure it’s not THAT different than Zara or Forever 21.

  • Bummer. Guess I’m never shopping there!

  • BOOOO! Tysons barely even counts as the DC area. Uniqlo, I expect better from you.

    • OK, I’m definitely a DC-first guy, but saying Tysons isn’t the DC area is a bit silly.

    • Tyson’s is only 6 miles from the DC line and 10 miles from downtown.

      How is it not part of the DC metro area, exactly?

      • Time spent getting someplace is a LOT more important than how far it is as-the-crow-flies. From parts of D.C. it’s actually easier to get to Baltimore than Tyson’s when you take traffic into account. It’s not at all unreasonable to think of it as its own city.

      • Since when did anybody measure distance by miles here in the city? You’re being pretty disingenuous in your argument here by using that as a measurement. In the distant suburbs, 5 miles can take 5 minutes. Here closer to civilization, 5 miles can take over an hour.

    • This is just an opening salvo, especially at that small size. Others will open closer in: Philadelphia and Boston are smaller markets with less spending power, and have 4-6 stores apiece.

  • Why would anyone think Uniqlo was going to City Center? It’s basically a Japanese H&M. Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Uniqlo is a very easy game of “One Of These Things is Not Like The Others”.

  • Hmm — it’s a little far, but TOTALLY worth taking the metro out a couple of times a year to stock up until one opens in DC proper (please!).

  • The good news is they have a website.

  • The UNIQLO heat tech leggings I got in Hong Kong last year saved my life in DC this past winter! I’m excited that this will be close-ish. Hopefully they’ll get enough steam to open one downtown too.

  • Meh. It’ll be easier for me to go to the Philadelphia/Cherry Hill locations since I’m often there for work or visiting family. I’m NEVER in Tyson’s.

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