Speed merchant— Tokyo


As president of Japanese company Fast Retailing, the parent company of Uniqlo, Tadashi Yanai is the richest man in Japan. After record sales in 2008, he is taking his low-cost chain to Paris and Singapore and hunting for big game in the US.

Fast Retailing, Paris, Singapore, Uniqlo, low-cost chain

Tadashi Yanai is the founder of the casual clothing chain Uniqlo, chairman of its parent company Fast Retailing and the richest man in Japan, with an estimated net worth of €4.8bn. Yanai opened the first Uniqlo store in Hiroshima in 1984; today Uniqlo has 765 stores around the world. Its emphasis on high-quality, low-cost basics, combined with strong advertising, has struck a chord with consumers and the company posted record sales in 2008.

Since its first overseas opening in London in 2001, Uniqlo has upped the pace of expansion, opening more…

Fast lane

Tadashi Yanai - CV

1949: Born in Yamaguchi, Japan
1971: Graduates from Waseda University, Tokyo with a BA in political science and economics
1972: Joins the family firm Ogori Shoji Co in Yamaguchi
1973: Appointed senior managing director
1984: Becomes president and CEO. Opens first Uniqlo (Unique Clothing Warehouse) store in Hiroshima
1991: Changes the company name to Fast Retailing Co Ltd
2001: Opens first overseas store, in London
2002: Steps down as president and becomes chairman and CEO
2005: Reassumes role of president, chairman and CEO


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