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Fast Retailing Applies Unique SPA Business Model to Help Forge Brighter Future in Bangladesh

December 16, 2016

Fast Retailing Applies Unique SPA Business Model to Help Forge Brighter Future in Bangladesh

December 16, 2016
by Sustainability Communication Hub

Bangladesh is no longer one of the world’s poorest nations. Today, this emerging nation is steadily growing as one of the world’s leading apparel manufacturers. However, the country’s economic structure remains fragile due to its heavy dependence on textile exports and overseas remittances from emigrant workers, and the country’s manufacturing base and infrastructure require urgent improvement.

Against this backdrop, in 2010 Fast Retailing Co., Ltd, Japan’s largest casualwear retailer and operator of the UNIQLO brand, established the UNIQLO Social Business Bangladesh Ltd. In 2011, Fast Retailing joined forces with renowned local social business proponent Grameen Bank Group to launch Grameen UNIQLO Ltd. The joint venture company has drawn on UNIQLO's unique specialty store retailer of private retail apparel (SPA) business model, which spans the entire clothes-making process from materials procurement through planning, design, manufacture and retail, to develop a social business and a more robust clothing manufacturing base in Bangladesh.

Fast Retailing is adamant that all clothing design, manufacture and retail are conducted entirely within Bangladesh, and all profits reinvested. The apparel giant has actively channeled its resources as a global company - from manufacturing to store management and personal training - into building a successful business, and carving new markets for Bangladesh’s nascent retail industry. The joint venture is a powerful example of Fast Retailing’s drive to help eradicate poverty, encourage industry, expand employment opportunities, and nurture independence through business.

Six years on, the joint venture has overcome many difficult challenges, including ensuring high-quality procurement standards while respecting local business practices, culture, laws and the social nature of local factories. Learning from each experience, the venture continues to steadfastly pursue business expansion, cultivating factories that share its social business ideals, developing traditional dress and other products to meet local needs, and reviewing store development strategies.

Read more at Sustainable Brands.

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