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Damage Control: Uniqlo CMO Apologizes to Patrons for Sample Sale Debacle

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The day after Christmas, clothing store Uniqlo on Broadway in Soho held a widely-publicized "sample sale" which drew hundreds of eager shoppers. Unfortunately, the store only offered up four racks of merchandise, disappointing many who'd waited hours in the cold for a chance at $15 cashmere and $20 coats. Apparently, reverberations from the disgruntled masses have reached top Uniqlo brass: Chief marketing officer Shinichiro Shuda penned an apology letter sent out this morning by the retailer's PR company PaulWiImotCommunications. An excerpt:

Please allow me to give my sincere apology for the confusion. We regret to say that this event was poorly executed by Uniqlo. On 24-Dec, we discovered that the conditions of our fall/winter collection samples were significantly below our quality standards, even if they were marked as "samples." A good number of samples were premature in design, fabric and craftsmanship compared to our final merchandise, as well as damaged through long months of storage. The executive decision was made to trim down our product offering significantly and eliminate any items that would not have met our stringent quality standards. Unfortunately, we had already made our announcement to the public about the sale the week prior, and due to the holiday schedule we were not able to communicate this decision.
He goes on to explain that managers erroneously stated that the lack of merchandise was due to a pr/press pre-sale, which, according to Shuda, never took place (anyone want to confirm or deny this?). The best way for the store to redeem itself in shoppers' eyes would be to hold a real blow-out sale, but we appreciate Shuda's effort.
Shin-nen akemashite omedetou gozaimasu. ("Happy new year") I hope you enjoyed your holiday season. On behalf of Uniqlo USA, I want to first thank you for your patronage in 2007. We are still a very small part of the industry but I am happy to say we are doing very well.

I am writing to give an explanation to our sample sale that took place on the morning of 26-Dec-2007. Please allow me to give my sincere apology for the confusion. We regret to say that this event was poorly executed by Uniqlo.

On 24-Dec, we discovered that the conditions of our fall/winter collection samples were significantly below our quality standards, even if they were marked as "samples." A good number of samples were premature in design, fabric and craftsmanship compared to our final merchandise, as well as damaged through long months of storage. The executive decision was made to trim down our product offering significantly and eliminate any items that would not have met our stringent quality standards. Unfortunately, we had already made our announcement to the public about the sale the week prior, and due to the holiday schedule we were not able to communicate this decision.

On the morning of 26-Dec, our store manager saw the number of customers who were eager to get into the sample sale and had to provide them with an explanation. An erroneous statement was made about a "pre-sale to the press." Instead of rectifying the situation, it has caused further confusion and resentment. There was no pre-sale to anyone, I assure you.

Through this exercise, we, as a company, have learned a great deal. We are already working on a new procedure for our next sale occasion. We also want to gain back the trust and we know that the only way to do that is to communicate with you. If you have any questions or comments, please send them to press@uniqlo-usa.com .

· Crisis Management: Uniqlo Responds to Unhappy Sample Sale Customer [Racked]
· Uniqlo Sample Sale Fallout: All The Good Stuff Went to PR/Press [Racked]
· Above The Fray: Disappointment at the Uniqlo Sample Sale [Racked]
· Live from the Uniqlo 12/26 Sale Bonanza: Madness and Confusion, No $15 Cashmere [Racked]

Uniqlo - Soho

546 Broadway, New York, NY 10012 Visit Website