Pal’s new apparel supermarket set for US launch this year

Feb 15

Pal has only just unveiled its new ‘apparel supermarket‘ chain Colony 2139 in Japan, but says it will open its first US store this year. As well as being created from scratch to offer well-designed mass market basics across home ware and fashion within one store, from the start Colony 2139 was conceived as Pal‘s bridgehead to global expansion.

Pal Group opened the first store for its new chain Colony 2139 in Aeon Laketown in December. Pal hyped the launch for a year before, saying it was creating a new mass market chain that would be an ‘IKEA for apparel‘, a kind of hip apparel supermarket, offering quality contemporary apparel basics as well as accessories, travel goods, sportswear and home fashions, with a high level of design but at reasonable prices. In essence the store, with a concept dubbed ‘Modern Home, Work, and Life‘ sounded like it would be a colourful, cheap version of Muji with more emphasis on apparel and some of the fun accessories of a Tiger store.

The result is decidedly more monochrome in all respects. The black, white and grey 650 sqm store is dark, offset only by the plethora of white merchandise across apparel and accessories as well as home, the latter section selling everything from soap to gadgets with furniture being added this Spring. Also on offer is a basic apparel collection developed in conjunction with American Apparel, alongside a sportswear collection from Nike.

Pal says the store reflects its hopes to create a collection of daily modern basics with a high level of design at prices ‘similar to a convenience store’. Prices for apparel start at around ¥1,500 for t-shirts and ¥2,000 for sweatshirts.

The store reflects the design language of Townes, the California design firm that is collaborating with Pal on design direction as well as US store development. However, production is being handled entirely by Pal‘s key trading partner, Mitsubishi Shoji Fashion. Given the very different operational requirements of a mass market chain, Pal has created a separate subsidiary to operate Colony 2139 called The General Inc.

Pal Group believes it can grow the chain to ¥50 billion within Japan alone over the next few years, although there is concern among many analysts that the self conscious minimalist design may not have the mass appeal Pal was hoping for. This Spring it will open the first Kansai store in Lucua 1100.