MUJI Unveils A Major Makeover For Its Original U.S. Store

Photo courtesy of MUJI

Has really been over 10 years since the Japanese concept retailer MUJI made its American debut on a slightly offbeat block of Broadway in SoHo? That was way back in November of 2017, and since then, the chain has charmed shoppers in New York, Boston and up and down the coast of California with its deceptively sophisticated mix of minimalistic merchandise ranging from apparel to kitchenware to home furnishings to a plethora of pens and paper goods. It's hard to walk through a Muji store without pondering where one might find a place for a sleek stack of polypropylene drawers just to make things a bit tidier around the house. As the chainlet expanded through a series of increasingly spacious stores throughout the city, its original location began to feel a little bit cramped. Despite the fact that it has remained the highest volume location in the U.S., the past few months have seen the store undergo a dramatic update that added a new shopping floor and a multi-fold expansion of its square footage. With the new expansion unveiled over the weekend, SoHo shoppers now have the full assortment of Muji offerings including fragrances and skin care and extra services like an embroidery station for personalization. Now that Muji's most productive location has been upgraded, the company will turn its attention towards other unexplored U.S. regions. The East and West coasts have discovered and embraced the concept of simple but well designed, useful things, the next Muji stores will start appearing closer to the middle of the country to see if the midwest takes to the stores with the same enthusiasm as the coasts have.

See below to browse a gallery of the newly revamped SoHo store at 455 Broadway (Between Grand and Howard Streets)
Scroll and click each image for a larger view.
Images courtesy of MUJI


Muji's New Concept Fifth Avenue Flagship Opens Today

New York has had a few Muji stores for quite some time now, but the new 12,000 square foot, two-level flagship (pictured above) opening today on Fifth Avenue across the street from the New York Public Library is promising new departments and products that will bring the store much closer to the full Muji experience that customers in its Japanese stores have come to know.
For starters, it will have the biggest assortment of clothing yet seen in any of Muji's U.S. stores, including a full selection of children's clothes for ages 2 to 10. Customers will now be able to create a customized scent at the Aroma Bar, and, for the first time, personalize their purchases with monograms or a selection of other designs at the embroidery machine station. Other additions include a Cafe Grumpy coffee bar, plants sold in partnership with Green Fingers New York, and a book section focusing on Japanese lifestyle topics. Most notably, for a store so intensely focused on Japan and its day-to-day culture, the retailer is introducing Found Muji, a section devoted to merchandise curated by its creative staff from around the world, currently featuring France's Basque region (pictured below).
Muji almost always has a few opening day surprised up its sleeve, so today will definitely be a great day to check out the new store, but it sounds like we are starting to see more of full breadth of the products that has made the chain so popular back home in Japan.

MUJI 475 Fifth Avenue between 40th & 41st Street, Midtown
Muji Unveils Experiential Concept in Fifth Avenue New York Store (WWD)
See some more images of the new store after the jump

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MUJI's Fifth New York Store Hits Cooper Square Today

It may have been the disgusting weather this morning that made the Press Preview for MUJI's new store on Cooper Square a bit more subdued than one would have expected. Of course, this in New York's fifth store from the Japanese chain, so we are all pretty familiar with what they have to offer by now, and yet the company has made each store a bit different.

In a certain sense, it's a surprise that it took Muji so long to get to the East Village, which, for years has been home to a number of smaller restaurants and stores specializing in Japanese food and products that are harder to find elsewhere. The new Muji store is a few doors away from a Japanese barbecue, so it fits in the neighborhood just fine, especially on a block that has recently become home to some dramatic, futuristic architecture. Muji is not, however in one of those buildings, but in a more traditional sort of space that makes it the first New York store to offer two levels of shopping. On the street level, there are all the familiar offerings from clothing to home and kitchen items to ever more of the brand's fascinating pens and paper products. Downstairs, however, holds an expanded offering of the brand's furniture. Browse around long enough and find yourself longing to live in an environment defined by simple, functional wooden furniture and walls filled with pristine stacks of polypropylene shelves and drawers. As we have mentioned before, part if the appeal of Muji's furniture is that it is scaled to small living spaces, a quality that any New York Apartment dweller can appreciate.

We hadn't had a good browse around Muji for a little while, and there are always ingenious new gadgets and clever items to discover. We were kindly gifted with a Silicone Ice Ball Maker —designed for those who prefer a single sphere of ice— inside a special edition of the store's re-usable canvas My Bag made just for the store that will be distributed to the first 1,000 customers. Check out our gallery below for a look inside the new store.

MUJI Cooper Square 52 Cooper Square between East 6th & 7th Streets, East Village

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MUJI Skincare Hits The U.S.



Generally, Fashion Week is all about any number of publicity minded entities fighting for attention, so there is something refreshing about the fact that, this week, Japanese retail chain MUJI has quietly launched its skincare line in all four of its U.S. stores which just happen to be in New York City (as well as in the online store).


The well-priced line which includes an organic collection of lotions, moisturizers and toners as well as one for sensitive skin is thoughtfully packaged in both regular and travel sizes, typifyng the chain's philosophy of useful and practical design.

The Shophound is starting to think of Muji as an old fashioned variety store filled with modest but frequently perfect items, often coming to the rescue when we are exhausted looking for the perfect thing from desk items to storage and shelves. It is always worth a browse in one of their shops if you haven't been in there in a while, even if it's just to pick up a few of their great pens and notepads.

Muji Skincare (

Today In Collaborations:

Muji Forges Partnership
With Historic Furniture Maker

This month, Japanese cult retailer MUJI launches a new capsule collection made in collaboration with Thonet, the German furniture maker famous for perfecting bentwood construction techniques. The tiny group includes a classic beech chair and table as well as items in bent steel pipe.
We're happy to see MUJI expanding their furniture offerings in its New York stores (the line will be sold in the Times Square and Flatiron locations). The downside? While bentwood furniture was popular for being inexpensive in the 19th century when it was introduced, that's not so much the case now, with the beech chair priced at $495.75 and the table at $795.75 –not horribly extravagant, but somewhat higher than we have come to expect from MUJI. Quality is the priority here, however, as the pieces are all being made in Thonet's German factories (hence the higher prices).
On a related note, limited time discounts will be offered on other items through the end of June including 20% off of pocketed coil mattresses with legs and mold urethane sofa components. Need more enticement? Selected business bags and accessories will also be discounted this month, so a visit within the next two weeks should be in order.
MUJI (Official Site)

eCommerce Update:

MUJI's Online Store Is Open

Mujiliberty1 It's taken a little while, but MUJI's U.S. online store is now open for business. The stock is still limited to smaller items, but that includes their oh-so-perfect pens and paper goods as well as other household-y items. So far, there's no furniture or clothes, but it's a good start. Now you can get your MUJI fix from the comfort of home or anywhere in America.
Shop away!
MUJI USA Online Store (Official Site)

Holiday Openings

What's New At The New MUJI?

Yet another MUJI store is something The Shophound can still get excited about even though we are now fully familiar with the Japanese retailer's charms.
The new Flatiron District branch holds few surprises for the MUJI faithful, but allows the chain to cover more ground and adds a more convenient location for those who don't feel like schlepping all the way to SoHo or, frankly, don't get to the New York Times building (or Port Authority Bus Terminal) very often.
This one, somewhat erroneously dubbed MUJI Chelsea, is just west of Fifth Avenue on 19th Street. The stock is what we can now recognize as standard MUJI, which makes it no less attractive, although this branch's mix is edited and arranged to put more emphasis on apparel (much of which is currently on sale for 50% off) and home furnishings. Note the tableware display up front.
This is MUJI's fourth New York store including the JFK Airport location, and after only a year in business here, they seem to have molded their concept well to suit our particularly finicky market.
So what's in store for the Japanese phenom whose simple, high quality, well priced goods seem particularly well positioned for current economic conditions? We have no official announcements as of yet, but assuming all stores continue performing well, we would expect a few more shops like this one further uptown and with the inevitable banks locations closing and consolidating (WaMu into Chase, for example) plenty of prime space should be opening up in the next year or so.
In the meantime, we still have a laundry list of things we'd love from MUJI, which is looking like an exceptionally good stocking stuffer source this year. No longer full of surprises, It's still full of appealing goods.
MUJI Chelsea 16 West 19th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Flatiron District
More pictures after the jump-

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Black Friday Opening Alert:

MUJI #4 Takes On
The Flatiron District This Friday

In a year's time Japanese retailer MUJI appears to have captivated New Yorkers and our guests so much that a fourth store is set to open this week.
Normally, MUJI picks an opening date that it cal call its own for maximum publicity purposes, but this year they will be competing with drastic specials and early bird doorbusters on Black Friday, November 28th.
For those who can't bear the throngs of anxious bargain hunters (and really, who can?), MUJI should be a civilized alternative for day-after-Thanksgiving shopping. In any event, the store is making its first weekend extra worthwhile with giveaways for the faithful.
On Friday, the first 200 customers in after the store opens at 1 PM will receive a set of "New York In A Bag".
Saturday's treat for 200 is the New York handkerchief.
Sunday's giveaway is the Stamp Empire State Building.
We don't really need a free incentive to go shopping at MUJI, and since they have merchandised each location slightly differently, we are looking forward to seeing what new items the new shop has to offer- more furniture perhaps?
We can only hope.
MUJI Chelsea opens Friday November 28th at 1 PM, 16 West 19th Street, Flatiron District

MUJI Alert From The Inbox:

Back-To-School Sale Starts Friday

MujisaleWell, it's not the deepest of discounts, MUJI is getting into the all-American tradition of Back-To School this Friday August 8th with a 10% off sale on all pens and notebooks running through September 1st.
Even though we are just a few years beyond our school days those three dreaded words always seem to signal the end of Summer, launching a twinge of melancholy into the dog days that could only be alleviated by the getting of more stuff.
At least a MUJI notebook is several steps up from a Trapper Keeper®.

From The Inbox:
MUJI Is Looking For Ideas

Calling all stylish inventors!
Our friends at MUJI are on the hunt for your invention.
During the month of July, the Japanese retailer will be accepting submissions for the MUJI AWARD 03, it's, apparently annual, international design competition. This year's theme is "Found MUJI", which can be roughly translated to updating classic items for modern daily life. They are looking for items in any product category, with prizes ranging from $2,000 to $20,000 (apparently taxable) U.S. dollars.
...So get cracking!
MUJI AWARD 03 (Official Site)
Full Press Release and details after the jump...

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MUJI Is Looking For Ideas" »