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UNIQLO Opens Its Second Largest Store In The World On Friday

So perhaps you have been daunted by the crowds at the new, gigantic UNIQLO World Flagship store on Fifth Avenue. Don't worry, because phase two of the Japanese company's latest efforts, a second world flagship store (or third if you count the original SoHo store as a World Flagship, as it was called when it opened) will open on 34th Street tomorrow at noon with a special ribbon cutting and traditional Japanese ceremony.

Of course, at the moment, workers are still hammering away, and they probably will be installing finishing touches up until the doors open tomorrow. While Uniqlo had nearly two years to construct its Fifth Avenue store, the 34th Street location has only been under construction since April, and at 64,000 square feet, it is still a sizable undertaking.

Expect everything to be perfect tomorrow, however. The white exterior paneling has now been installed, so the store no longer looks naked from the street. In fact the store only has a few thousand fewer square feet of actual selling space than its uptown sibling, and shares the same design elements from architectural firm Wonderwall including a soaring central atrium and countless LED screens throughout. It will also be sharing the same opening specials including the $9.90 jeans which have been flying out of the Fifth Avenue store as well as cashmere sweaters in 25 colors from $49.90 to $59.90, Ultralight down jackets for $59.90 and Heattech items starting at $12.90. In addition, the first 20,000 shoppers at 34th street will recieve a free original tote bag featuring the now iconic red and white logo.

We just toured the newest store with Shin Odake, the US CEO of Uniqlo, who though he has given countless interviews over the past couple of weeks, was gracious enough walk The Shophound through. We watched as the flying mannequins which will be traveling up and down the three floors were activated for the first time (pictured above). This particular feature is unique to the 34th street store, and can be seen only in one other Uniqlo store in Japan. In fact, there are nearly twice as many mannequins in this store as there are on Fifth Avenue, showing every possible way to style the brand's wares.

Some may even find this particular store easier to shop than the one on Fifth Avenue, with featured items including the Uniqlo Innovation Project collection on a main floor split between men and women's merchandise, a full floor for women on 2, and menswear on the third floor shared with a separate section fully stocked with Jil Sander's swan song for +J. We shared with Mr. Odake one last lament about the demise of everyone's favorite designer collaboration line, and he promised us that we would be happy with the upcoming team-up with designer Jun Takahashi's Undercover label. As for more Uniqlo stores around the country, he told us, "As soon as possible!" probably for the thousandth time. He did confirm for us that now that they have so much more space, they would be bringing back children's clothes sometime soon.

His main concern, however, is obviously getting this store ready for its opening on Friday, after which he gets a well-earned rest while the rest of us get shopping.

UNIQLO's other World Flagship opens on Friday October 21st at Noon at 31 West 34th Street between 5th & 6th Avenues, Midtown


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