Japanese apparel brand UNIQLO will open its first Southern California store at swanky South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa on Sept. 3, followed in quick succession by four other local stores.

The chain said it will hire several hundred employees to run the new locations.

Another store will open Sept. 26 at the Glendale Galleria and Northridge Fashion Center. The Beverly Center unit will be ready Oct. 10, while the Los Cerritos Center location will welcome shoppers in the spring.

More UNIQLO stores were also announced for Walnut Creek, Pleasanton and Milpitas in the Bay Area, where the chain already has five stores.

UNIQLO, known for selling a spread of basics, has 20 open stores in the U.S. and 1,200 worldwide. The brand is owned by Japanese holding company Fast Retailing Co., which also owns apparel names such as Theory and Helmut Lang, which recently opened its first U.S. outlet store at Desert Hills Premium Outlets.

The first UNIQLO opened in Hiroshima, Japan, in 1984.

UNIQLO is often compared to American company Gap, though its stores employ distinctive tactics such as handing customers back their payment cards with both hands per Japanese custom.

UNIQLO is also currently collaborating with Pharrell Williams – the pop star responsible for the song du jour “Happy” – on a line of T-shirts and accessories.