With more than 130 stores nationwide, China undisputedly is Muji‘s biggest overseas market, and although the country’s staggering economic growth of the past decades has dwindled, the Japanese ‘No Brand’ retailer will be accelerating store openings in this vast market to at least 50 per year from 2017. Symbolic of this audacious expansion plan is the recently opened Muji Huaihai 755, the company’s biggest flagship store on the planet to date, situated in the bustling heart of Shanghai. Nestled on three floors of the orient shopping centre, the store measures little over 840 sqm. [9,042 sq.ft.] and introduces a number of firsts to the Chinese market.
Not surprisingly, Muji has gone to great lengths to create appealing settings for this prestigious retail venture, and its design team has come up with a palette of various natural materials and a distinct look for each floor. The ground floor is inspired by nature and features an infusion of timber, captured by furnishings, flooring, and also carefully sourced props – most notably, an authentic old fishing barge. One floor up the decor is a tad more contemporary with metal as the most used material. A sizeable section of the third floor is home to Café & Meal Muji, a very popular facility at select Muji stores in the homeland and making its Chinese debut here at the new flagship store.
Another first is Muji Books, a section perched on the third floor and stocked with a wide selection of books and magazines on fashion, home decoration, cooking and other lifestyle topics, and Aroma Labo, a counter where shoppers are able to customize a scent for aroma diffusers on the spot. And obviously as a flagship store, Muji Huaihai 755 carries a wide range of its ‘regular goods’, such as men’s and women’s apparel items, to homeware, kitchen utensils and office materials, but also stocks special products. Exemplary of the latter category is Remuji, a line of used clothing which has been collected at Muji stores and then tweaked to give it a fashionable new lease on life, and which undoubtedly is a novelty for a consumer market voracious for the newest trophies.