Minimalist Japanese retailer MUJI has announced that its Metropolis at Metrotown location in Burnaby, east of Vancouver, will open this summer. It will become the largest MUJI location in Canada, though that will be only temporary — MUJI will also open a Robson Street store in Vancouver this year, which will become one of its largest stores globally.
The 7,770 square foot Metrotown MUJI will be on the mall’s ground level, down the hall from anchor Hudson’s Bay. Three separate retail spaces will be joined together to create the new store, which will be sandwiched between Change of Scandinavia and Wm. Anderson Agencies, and across the hall from Sephora and Disney as per the floor plan below. Japanese retailer UNIQLO will open up the hall this fall in a 20,630 square foot retail space.
Metrotown will be the first of two confirmed Lower Mainland stores for MUJI — a 10,000 square foot Robson Street flagship will also open later this year. The Robson Street store, which will replace The Gap at 1125 Robson Street, will become one of MUJI’s biggest locations. In North America, MUJI’s largest store spans 11,650 square feet on Fifth Avenue in New York City, and a 10,000 square foot Boston location opened in January of this year. MUJI’s largest store in the world, located in Tokyo, spans an impressive 38,000 square feet over three levels.
As of now, MUJI operates three Canadian stores, all of which are located in the Greater Toronto Area. MUJI’s first Canadian store opened in November of 2014 at ‘The Atrium’ at 20 Dundas Street West in downtown Toronto, spanning 4,400 square feet on one level. MUJI’s second Canadian store opened in November of 2015 at the Square One shopping centre in Mississauga, spanning 5,225 square feet. In October of this year, MUJI opened a 6,375 square foot unit in Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre.
MUJI has big plans for Canada. In an interview with Retail Insider last year, Canadian President Toru Akita revealed that the company plans to operate between 15 and 20 stores in Canada by the year 2020. In the same interview, Mr. Akita also said that MUJI is considering opening an additional one to three stores in the Greater Toronto Area within the next year, which means that Toronto could house between four and six MUJI stores by 2018.
MUJI operates 14 American stores, with more to follow as it expands in the US. Of the locations currently open, seven are in the New York City area, three are in the San Francisco Bay area, one is in Boston, and three are in southern California.
Known for being innovative and its products being affordable and unbranded, MUJI carries various household items, furniture, appliances, stationery and apparel. With hundreds of stores worldwide (over 400 in Japan and about 400 internationally), it saves money by spending little to nothing on market research and advertising. MUJI is short for Mujirushi Ryohin, or no-brand superior items, and was founded in 1980 as the private-label brand of a major supermarket chain.