(NEW YORK) -- Maybe things are looking up for U.S. retailers after all, or at least some of them.
September's retail sales, announced Thursday, were better than expected, and some retailers, including apparel company Uniqlo, have aggressive plans for expansion by both quantity of stores and store size.
Uniqlo opened its second store in the United States on Friday—a whopping 89,000-square-foot, three-story flagship with cathedral ceilings and revolving mannequin displays on storied Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Its first store, which opened in New York City's bustling and trendy shopping district, SoHo, in 2006, is more than 35,000 square feet in size.
The chairman of the company, which originates from Japan, hopes Uniqlo will be the No. 1 retailer in the country, with a store in every major U.S. city, and have $50 billion in sales worldwide by 2020.
Uniqlo is currently the fourth-largest retailer in the world with $10 billion in sales, according to Chief Operating Officer Yasunobu Kyogoku. And $10 billion of that future $50 billion is expected to come from the United States.
After opening Uniqlo's third U.S. store, in its 64,000-square-foot glory, in Manhattan's Herald Square on Oct. 21, Kyogoku said Uniqlo is hoping to expand further in New York City and its outlying areas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago and all major metropolitan areas. The stores at Herald Square and Fifth Avenue will be its two largest stores in the world.
Though Uniqlo is opening stores, many other retailers across the country have been closing underperforming stores.
On Thursday, Gap Inc., which owns Banana Republic and Old Navy, said it plans a 20 percent reduction in North American Gap stores by 2013 but will expand its Gap Outlet stores.
There were 1,091 Gap stores and 22 franchise stores in North America as of July 30. But by the end of 2013, the company hopes to have 700 Gap speciality stores and 250 outlet stores.
As of July 30, Gap Inc. had 3,248 company-operated or franchised stores across 34 countries.
Bookseller Borders has declared bankruptcy while Barnes & Noble has shuttered several flagship stores—even in populous New York City.
"The days of big stores are over, in my opinion, and we'll see this trend for quite a few years to come," said Jennifer Black, CEO of the independent research firm, Jennifer Black and Associates.
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