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Apparel retailer Uniqlo opens two stores in the Boston area

The Uniqlo store at 34th Street in New York City.
The Uniqlo store at 34th Street in New York City.Company photo

The apparel chain Uniqlo said it is opening its first permanent stores in Massachusetts Friday, one at the Natick Mall and the other in the Mall at Chestnut Hill.

A woman’s top made from Heattech, a fabric Uniqlo claims is ideal for layering.
A woman’s top made from Heattech, a fabric Uniqlo claims is ideal for layering.Uniqlo’s online catalog

Last month, the chain opened a so-called “pop-up” store in Faneuil Hall Marketplace in space once occupied by Todd English’s Kingfish Hall restaurant. “Pop-up” is retail industry lingo for a temporary store. The store at the Natick Mall has 8,601 square feet of space; the store at Chestnut Hill has 7,870 square feet of space. The pop-up store, in contrast, weighs in at 2,124 square feet.

According to a recent Globe story about the Faneuil Hall opening, Uniqlo, pronounced “YOU-nee-klo,” is sometimes described as the Japanese version of Gap. Based in Japan, Uniqlo is known for “affordable basics in a vast color palette,” that story said.

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According to Uniqlo, it “makes clothes that transcend all categories and social groups.”

“We are a high-quality casual-clothing retailer,” Eileen McMaster, Uniqlo’s vice president of public relations, said during a telephone interview. “Our brand promise is to make your life easier to live.”

The company is keen on “innovative” fabrics such as Ultra Light Down and Heattech.

An Ultra Light Down jacket is “as light as a cellphone,” McMaster said, and it can be folded up in a pouch for easy travel.

A man’s Ultra Light Down jacket sells for $69.90.

As for Heattech, it’s an ideal fabric for layering during New England winters, McMaster said. A woman’s scoop-neck short-sleeve T-shirt is priced at $12.90.

There are more than 1,400 Uniqlo stores worldwide, including 25 locations in the US. There are 14 additional US stores openings planned through the end of 2014, the company said.

Several other Massachusetts store openings are planned over the next 12 months or so, including Uniqlo stores at the Northshore Mall in Peabody and Legacy Place in Dedham; both are scheduled to open in October. A Uniqlo store on Boston’s Newbury Street is set to open next spring. A permanent store at Faneuil Hall is also planned.

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Uniqlo is a brand of Fast Retailing Co Ltd., a Japanese retail holding company that designs, manufactures, and sells clothing under seven main brands including Comptoir des Cotonniers, GU, Helmut Lang, J Brand, Princesse tam.tam, and Theory as well as Uniqlo. The company reported sales of 1.14 trillion yen, or $11.62 billion, for the fiscal year that ended Aug. 31, 2013.


Chris Reidy can be reached at reidy@globe.com.