Muji has big plans for S'pore

EXPANDING ITS FOOTPRINT: Mr Kanai at the newly opened Muji outlet at VivoCity yesterday. The store - the brand's largest outlet here and measuring just over 600 sq m - features the Muji Kids clothing line for the first time in Singapore.


    Jul 04, 2014

    Muji has big plans for S'pore

    THERE are big plans afoot for Muji in Singapore. Yesterday, the Japanese retail brand opened its flagship outlet at VivoCity and a concept store at Changi Airport Terminal 2.

    It is also planning to further expand into Orchard Road beyond its three outlets there, and is considering a greater heartland presence.

    The retail brand intends to make its future outlets larger than the existing ones, too.

    This is on the back of a growing business here, with a 30 per cent rise in revenue annually since 2012.

    Muji's stores carry a variety of products, ranging from clothes to home furnishings.

    "We establish a number of stores in other parts of Asia every year, so we want to create the same system in Singapore to transmit the popularity of Muji," Muji's president, Masaaki Kanai, told My Paper.

    "The Muji business system in Singapore is still immature," said Mr Kanai, who is also a representative director at Ryohin Keikaku, the company that manages Muji.

    Muji first entered Singapore in 1995, but closed operations shortly after the 1997 financial crisis. It revived operations here in 2003 at the Seiyu department store at Bugis Junction.

    It has since opened seven outlets islandwide, with most located in the town area. Two stores are in the heartland - at Tampines 1 and at Jem in Jurong East.

    Besides new stores, Muji is set to bring in new products and is considering offering new services.

    Its new VivoCity outlet has a selection of products previously not available here.

    For instance, the VivoCity store - the largest Muji outlet here and measuring just over 600 sq m - features the Muji Kids clothing line for the first time in Singapore. The line was in such high demand among Singaporean tourists in Japan that Muji decided bring it here.

    Over at Changi Airport, the new store caters to travellers with products such as neck pillows and luggage tags. This is a first for Muji here.

    More product lines are expected to make their way to the country and Muji is even thinking about bringing in services as well, such as a cafe called Meal Muji and renovation services.

    While Muji has enjoyed success and has gained popularity here, Mr Kanai thinks it still has room to grow.

    He said that Muji's "philosophy" is still "weak" among Singaporeans and he hopes to build a stronger following here.

    He said that Muji aspired to provide a modern shopping experience for Singaporeans that is not restricted by brands.

    The products typically do not feature Muji's name or logo. According to Muji's marketing material, the brand opted for a "return to simplicity" in the 1980s, a time when "designer labels and excessive design" were in vogue.

    Carol Ng, 22, a self-proclaimed Muji fan who works as an executive at Sentosa, is overjoyed that the retail brand is opening more stores in Singapore.

    "I like the range of items that it offers and the prices are affordable," Ms Ng said.