The Ratings Game: Uniqlo is making a name for itself in the U.S.—even without Federer’s help

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Japanese clothing brand Uniqlo is becoming a bigger part of the conversation in the U.S., without even taking into account the retailer’s new contract with Roger Federer.

Twitter mention frequency of Uniqlo was up 75% in the latest quarter relative to a year earlier, according to TickerTags, which looks at social-media data for potential stock impacts. Most of those tweets weren’t discussing the new Federer endorsement deal, the research firm said. Mention frequency of the term Uniqlo in tweets that didn’t contain the words Federer or Nike grew 52%.

See also: Roger Federer dumps Nike, signs $300 million Uniqlo apparel deal

In the U.S., Google Trends data also showed rising search interest in the brand. Searches were up 39% in the latest quarter, per a TickerTags report.

TickerTags analyst Daria Woods told MarketWatch that she’s seen “growing consumer interest in Uniqlo” since the brand began expanding more broadly in the U.S. about two years ago. The company initially focused on the Northeast but has since moved to other regions.

Given that Uniqlo is “not known as a sportswear brand,” Woods said, she will be interested to see whether the Federer deal brings in a new customer base that might be willing to try out the company’s athleisure products. That said, she doesn’t see the new relationship as a threat to Nike Inc. NKE, -0.07% which previously had an apparel relationship with Federer. Uniqlo is closer to Gap Inc. GPS, +1.77%  than it is to Nike, Woods said.

Uniqlo is the biggest sales contributor to parent Fast Retailing Company 9983, -0.96% which is due to report August-quarter results on Oct. 11. The company’s August quarter is seasonally slow, but Woods said that mention frequency has historically been “a leading indicator into interest, which leads into sales.”

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