Home Miniso Opens Times Square Flagship, Talks U.S. Expansion
June 7, 2023

Miniso Opens Times Square Flagship, Talks U.S. Expansion

By: Mike Duff

Contributing Editor

Chinese-based lifestyle retailer Miniso has grown rapidly in the United States, with more expansion to come and, although it might have been a little under the radar earlier, the company is making a big statement with a flagship store in New York’s Times Square.

However, that wasn’t the first big U.S. move for Miniso.

The Times Square store is representative of the plans that Miniso has in the U.S. The company has evolved as it added stores across the country, first on the West Coast and more recently on the Eastern seaboard.

“In February 2023, we announced our new global brand strategy to transform into a lifestyle super brand that brings joy to consumers through collaborations and original designs,” Bella Tu, vice president of Miniso international operations, told HomePage News. “To become a super brand, it is important to occupy the high ground, and Times Square is a landmark, the Crossroads of the World. By having a store here, Miniso would attract attention from people all around the world and create a super brand perception in their minds. I’m also very proud to say that Miniso is the first Chinese brand to open a store in Times Square.”

Located on the first floor of 5 Times Square, the store has a large assortment of licensed products from Sanrio (which runs the Hello Kitty brand), We Bare Bears, Disney and others. It offers 2,500 products across 10 dedicated product zones. Besides licensed collections, the zones include gifts, stationary, blind box collectibles, toys, plushies, fragrances, accessories, makeup tools, snacks and electronics. The Miniso range in stores and online includes home decor and housewares in a fluid assortment that presents storage, tabletop, drinkware, home textiles and related items aimed at younger consumers.

The Times Square store, in a location that operates alongside heavy tourist traffic, isn’t quite the same as other Miniso operations. At the same time, it’s not strictly aimed at tourists. Rather, Tu said, it is designed to have a broad appeal to people who are regularly circulating through the vicinity. Besides tourists, Times Square has a large contingent of local diners, theatergoers and office workers who circulate about the area on a regular basis.

Miniso Times Square

“This store would naturally attract more tourists,” Tu said. “However, Miniso appeals to everyone.”

Times Square isn’t Miniso’s first foray into New York City. It opened a Soho pop-up store in November 2021 as the holidays approached, and it has maintained a presence in the Manhattan neighborhood even after that closed with a permanent store operating nearby on Broadway. In New York, Miniso followed with a major, 3,372-square-foot store debut in Flushing, Queens, a diverse but heavily Asian community. The store has operated in Tangram, a new 1.2 million-square-foot, mixed-use development since June 2022. In between and amid other U.S. store openings, Miniso debuted its worldwide total 5,000th store in Boston on December 18, 2022.

With some 70 locations already in operation, Miniso has a goal of opening 100-plus stores in the U.S. by the end of 2023. Since its founding in 2013, Miniso has reached 106 markets with more than 5,500 stores to date, attracting over 1 billion customers globally, according to the company. Today, Miniso stores in the U.S. operate primarily in California on the West Coast, with a location in Las Vegas and one in metropolitan Seattle. On the East Coast, Miniso operates stores from metro Boston to the Washington, D.C. area. The company also has two stores each in Houston and near Orlando.

Still, the Times Square store in New York City is a special location for the company.

“Times Square is our global flagship, which is a milestone since Miniso’s founding in 2013,” Tu said, adding that it offers an “upgraded look and design. This is following Miniso’s latest global strategy which was announced in February this year.”

Miniso Times Square Grand Opening

At that time, Miniso CEO Jack Ye announced the retailer would evolve from purely a retail company to a content creator and lifestyle brand while transforming customers into users. Ye maintained Miniso would find expression for the company’s “Joy Philosophy” focused on consumer happiness. A brand that can make consumers happy eventually becomes a super brand they adore, Ye asserted.

Miniso will become “the world’s number one provider of joyful and fun lifestyle and household products,” Ye said. “In the next 10 years, Miniso will move towards becoming a world-class technology-based consumer enterprise.”

The company has since shifted its U.S. pricing strategy. Until recently, it had adopted a $10-and-under pricing strategy, but it determined that it wouldn’t hold to that course.

“In the U.S. market, most of our products are still priced at around $10 dollars,” Tu said. “However, following our new global brand strategy, we no longer emphasize the pricing advantages but focus on our new brand positioning of being an on-trend lifestyle brand offering fun collaborations and originals.”

Younger shoppers remain the prime target demographic.

“The younger consumers tend to pursue trendy products and are price-sensitive,” she said. “At Miniso, we have products with world-renowned brands, such as Disney and Marvel, Sanrio, We Bare Bears and Minions, all of which are adored the most by younger consumers. We also have our originals, such as our Mini Family, which has shown huge success, too.”

Although it has had to navigate different countries and cultures in its expansion, Miniso believes its path to ongoing growth is based on its new underlying strategy, which itself builds on its philosophy.

“Miniso has always been a global lifestyle product retailer and that has not changed since we entered the U.S. market,” Tu said. “The lifestyle that Miniso embodies refers to the simple, joyful lifestyle that one can achieve through shopping at Miniso. The products we carry are cute and fun everyday items. They not only have functional values, but they also carry emotional values that resonate with customers.“

At the same time, the company is flexible as it addresses trends and a general sense of entertaining shoppers.

“In terms of styles and life occasions, we do not have a particular focus. We would love our customers to experience fun in their ordinary and everyday life through shopping with us and without breaking the bank,” Tu said.

Miniso’s store count isn’t the only thing growing. In the third quarter that ended March 31, Miniso posted revenues of $430.2 million, up 26.2% year over year and 18.4% from the previous quarter, the company reported. Operating profit was $83.9 million, up 308.5% year over year and 28.7% from the second quarter. Profit came in at $68.6 million, up 408.2% year over year and 30.9% from the second quarter, while adjusted profit reached $70.3 million, up 336.3% year over year and 29.5% from the second quarter, the company stated. At the end of the third quarter, Miniso operated 5,514 stores, an increase of 401 year over year. In all, 2,131 of those stores operated outside of China, an increase of 215 year over year.

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