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Uniqlo makes 'social infrastructure' its new mantra

Japan's leading apparel company sees role changing during coronavirus pandemic

Uniqlo has started selling fresh flowers in its stores, including this one in Tokyo's Ginza district.

TOKYO -- Uniqlo, a subsidiary of Fast Retailing, is about to transform itself from a clothing store into "social infrastructure." People around the world are finding their sense of values changing during the novel coronavirus pandemic, and support for the corporate attitude of single-mindedly pursuing growth is crumbling. As the world moves toward sustainability, Uniqlo wants to remake itself as a "more social presence," in the words of Chairman and President Tadashi Yanai.

"I didn't realize Uniqlo was like this," said a woman shopping at the Uniqlo store in Tokyo's Harajuku neighborhood on Dec. 2 during an event for Uniqlo's 36th anniversary. Fresh flowers and books were on sale in one corner of the store.

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