Your flight is boarding soon, but you forgot to pack warm clothes. What to do?
Uniqlo is betting that you might consider a lightweight down jacket from a vending machine.
The Fast Retailing Co. FRCOY -0.20 per cent -owned retailer plans to roll out 10 of them this month and next in airports and shopping malls near New York, Houston, Oakland, Calif., and other US cities.
The machines are part of the company's retooled expansion plans after a more-ambitious effort to increase Uniqlo's US presence fell short of expectations. Vending machines are cheaper to operate than physical stores and are a convenient way of selling basic, travel-friendly clothes to harried consumers, said Marisol Tamaro, Uniqlo's US marketing chief.
"At the airport, you don't have a lot of time to wait in line and explore a store," she added.
Best Buy Co. operates 183 machines, most of them at airports, and has said in filings that they generate millions in revenue. Other brands, including Benefit Cosmetics LLC, also have tried airport vending machines as a way to tap a captive preboarding audience. Uniqlo has used similar machines as a marketing tool in Singapore and other countries.
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