Uniqlo's Nidhi Rastogi on leveraging the festive craze for brand expansion

After four years in India, Uniqlo, the Japanese lifestyle brand entered Mumbai. We sat with Nidhi Rastogi, Marketing Director of Uniqlo India to understand how the brand is positioning itself in the country and its expansion plans.

Sneha Medda
New Update
Nidhi Rastogi

For lifestyle brands, retail marketing is an important component of their brand presence. According to a report by EY, consumers now expect a retail environment that delivers consistency across their physical and digital experiences. It further said that 36% will do more of their shopping online and only visit stores that provide great experiences.

Headquartered in Tokyo, Uniqlo started with a single store in Hiroshima in 1984. After developing a presence in the European, Western, and other Asian markets, the brand stepped foot into the Indian market in 2019, starting with Delhi NCR and slowly expanding in Northern India. After four years of operating in India, they have 10 stores across the northern region.

Uniqlo is also eyeing to strengthen its retail presence in India by offering ‘LifeWear,’ which is its positioning strategy. The store reflects Japanese values and brings in a global touch. 

After Delhi, Lucknow, and Chandigarh, Uniqlo is stationing itself in Pheonix Market City, Kurla - Mumbai and Oberoi Mall, Goregaon. The decision to explore Mumbai next was taken after seeing a positive response online. 

“Mumbai is the 2nd best-performing market on the digital front,” said Tomohiko Sei, CEO of Uniqlo India, to the press. 

The new stores will feature a creative rendition of the spirit of Mumbai by local architect and illustrator Aashti Miller, capturing the true essence of the city.

Considering this growing audience, the brand decided to enter the coastal region. With the expansion, Uniqlo has a rather ambitious vision. 

“We aim to become the No.1 brand in India, which means a brand that is trusted by people  – becoming a natural choice for them,” added Sei.  

Speaking more about the growing push in India, Sei said that the brand is currently working with over 20 sewing factories and mills in India, sourcing at least 30% of its inventory from local sources. 

Sei also mentioned that a big hurdle that the brand is facing in terms of expansion in the country is the lack of correct space at the right price. He further stated that with the right partners, the brand might look at expanding to other areas of the country. 

With this expansion in Mumbai, the brand has certain goals it aims to fulfill…

  • Build the LifeWear concept:

    • LifeWear is a Japanese value of simplicity, quality, and longevity

    • Apparel that is adapted to Mumbaikars’ needs

    • A brand that suits every taste

  • Expansion

    • Evaluate more locations in the city

    • Tap into different geographies within the city

    • Replicate the Delhi NCR journey in Mumbai

Mumbai is an important market for Uniqlo. From a marketing perspective, Nidhi Rastogi, Marketing Director at Uniqlo India told Social Samosa the thought behind expansion. 

“Our brand has already been established, but as we expand our storefront, we also need to expand our audience. And to reach a larger audience base, we felt that this was the right time to step into new markets.”

Simultaneously, the Japanese lifestyle brand has roped in its first-ever Indian brand ambassador – Katrina Kaif. With this, Uniqlo is amping up its marketing activities. 

To create buzz around the store launch, a video with Kaif was posted on social media. 



Apart from that, in its first ad film with Kaif, Uniqlo spoke about offering warmth and comfort to their consumers while revealing its jacket collection. 

On choosing the Bollywood actor, Rastogi said, “Katrina fits right into our LifeWear commitment. Just like the brand, her personal style is minimalistic and simple and she herself is a fan of the brand, hence she was the perfect choice [for the brand].”



Kaif also brings a social presence to the table. She has over 76.8 million followers on Instagram, making her the sixth most followed Indian celebrity on the platform. On X, she has accumulated over 1.8 million followers.

Role of festive

The festive season is an important time for the Indian market as brands across genres expand their spends. Nearly 140 million shoppers are expected to make purchases during the festive season sale this year, research firm Redseer said in a report.

Uniqlo’s expansion plans also happen to align with festive. Similar to other brands, Uniqlo has also increased its spends by 20% during this season. Rastogi said, “Festive is a time when the shopping sentiment is high. Overall retail does well. With our new stores opening during this time, everything synergized perfectly.”

To boost its presence during the festive, the brand has rolled out its fall collection in the country. 

How the brand markets

In the past few years, the East Asian wave has taken over the Indian market. Be it the K-beauty hype, Asian cuisine or the love for Japanese lifestyle brands, Indians have actively adapted to this newfound market. 

Rastogi thinks that the audience has realised the quality these markets offer and has found a liking for it. With its products, the brand aims to offer the audience the basics they need with the added benefits of comfort. Rastogi said, “Our differentiator is comfortable and functional clothing.” 

Banking on this differentiator, the brand’s communication heavily focuses on product display. Using its social media platforms, the brand builds on its LifeWear philosophy and elaborates on product specifications.



Rastogi said, “We find the right products and communicate the value of the product which is best suited for the Indian consumers, highlighting its comfort factor.”



For the lifestyle brand, its stores play an important role in communication, which is a direct consumer touchpoint. Rastogi said that local activations are a big part of Uniqlo’s marketing strategy in India. She said, “So for us, our stores are one of the key marketing books.” 

The brand occasionally hosts events and installs local activations at its stores to further its reach and visibility. 



And for the markets that can't access its physical stores, the brand uses its online presence to enhance communication. 

The Live station shopping, an occasional live stream conducted by the brand, lets users shop in real-time, providing them with an interactive experience, and allowing them to ask questions and buy products during the live stream. 




Influencers also play an important role in the brand’s social media communication. Apart from that, the brand also engages in community building by featuring customers on their social media pages.



In the past, Uniqlo has also dabbled in movie marketing by collaborating with production houses. Most recently, to promote the release of The Super Mario Bros Movie, the brand partnered with Nintendo to add ‘The Mario Movie Short Sleeve’ in its UT collection (A line of graphic T-shirt collection).



Within digital, the brand also focuses on audio marketing on a large scale.

With the two new stores opening in the city, Uniqlo’s total number of stores in the country will reach 12. This new step in the brand’s journey comes after a 69% increase in sales while net profit tripling for its Indian unit during the fiscal year that ended March 2023. 


katrina kaif Uniqlo Store Launch