Uniqlo heading Down Under with new Australia store

TOKYO - The operator of Japanese cheap-chic clothing chain Uniqlo said Monday it was branching out to Australia, with a store in Melbourne set to open early next year.

"Uniqlo has selected Emporium Melbourne, a brand new retail complex in the heart of Melbourne's city centre, as the location for its first official Australian presence," Fast Retailing said in a statement.

The move is the latest step in the ongoing international expansion of the company, which has more than 1,200 stores worldwide, and follows the establishment of branches all over Asia, as well as in London and New York.

The Melbourne shop will be nearly 2,180 square metres (23,500 square feet) and will spread over four floors, the company said.

On Monday, Uniqlo's sister brand, GU, will head abroad for the first time with a store in Shanghai, Fast Retailing has said.

The GU store will be located inside the world's largest Uniqlo shop, which is in the city, the company said.

In July, Fast Retailing said it would open 10 new stores in the United States, as it reported a 22 per cent bump in net profit.