Popular Japanese-headquartered global clothing designer, manufacturer and retailer Uniqlo has indicated an interest in opening a New Zealand outlet.
The clothing retail giant, which only opened in Australia three years ago, says it is interested in New Zealand but nothing is definite.
"We are still looking forward [to] the opportunity that we might have, or we will open, a store in New Zealand in the future," the company said.
No specific dates or locations were revealed.
"We don't have any updates yet if we are going to open a Uniqlo store in new Zealand," the business said.
An Auckland-based retail sector expert predicted Uniqlo would be the next big global retailer to arrive, following Chanel, Tiffany & Co, Topshop, Zara and H&M.
Kiwi Property's NZX presentation this week referred to "department stores" opening in a much larger Sylvia Park in Auckland as part of a $200m expansion which would see two-level retail areas.
Chris Wilkinson of First Retail Group said British department store chain Debenhams was set to take up a substantial lease in Melbourne's CBD. That will be its first Australian store, he noted.
"Who's to say it's not them being courted?" Wilkinson asked, referring to Debenhams and Kiwi at Sylvia Park.
Kiwi is saying nothing on that score.
"As you can probably appreciate, it's not our practice to talk about current negotiations... but rest assured we will announce when we have something to say," a Kiwi spokesman from Australia said.
David Jones was this week said to be examining opening on Auckland's Broadway in Scentre Group's Westfield Newmarket, although it has denied that.
A spokeswoman said today: "We are always looking at opportunities however don't have any plans to open an additional store in New Zealand at this stage."
Precinct Properties is building Commercial Bay near Auckland's waterfront. Up to 150 new shops will be created on the old Downtown shopping centre site at the foot of Queen St, on lower levels off a new laneway, off Queen Elizabeth Square and Lower Albert St.
In 2015, Precinct's Scott Pritchard named Zara and Uniqlo as possibilities for a flagship store in that 39-level, $850m million waterfront block.
The labels, along with H&M and Topshop, were the types of businesses keen for a flagship store at street level in the tower, Pritchard said at the time.
Nothing further has been announced.
In 2013, Kiwi fashion designer Karen Walker struck a partnership with Uniqlo to design children's clothing and women's T-shirts.
Uniqlo calls itself Japan's largest apparel retail chain with a network of about 840 stores and says its first store opened in Hiroshima city in 1984.
"The subsequent opening of multiple suburban roadside stores brought rapid growth, culminating in the 1998 fleece apparel campaign which sparked a Uniqlo boom throughout Japan," the company says.
It opened its first Australian store in Melbourne, followed by two stores in Sydney, all in 2014. Since then, its Australian network has expanded to more than 10 stores and it is seen as being in a big growth phase.
The business was founded by Tadashi Yanai and has around 30,000 employees.