Half Year Sales, Income Jump at Fast Retailing

Inside Uniqlo's global flagship on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan

Tokyo—With strong increases both at its domestic Uniqlo stores as well as its growing overseas business, Fast Retailing Co. today reported that its first half profit and sales were up so much that it raised its full year forecast.

The company, whose report is one of the bright spots in a stagnant Japanese market, said its operating profit increased 11.8% to 91.75 billion yen (about $1.13 billion) in its first half.

Net sales soared 14.9% to 525.50 billion yen with a 2.3% increase in its comparable store sales in Japan. Although sales at its domestic stores, which account of the majority of its sales, were up, more revenue is streaming in from its expansion overseas, including the addition of 53 more stores. In total, its overseas stores posted a 69% surge in sales to 84.8 billion yen.

While sales in China and Hong Kong were strong, the company noted its Uniqlo stores in the United States posted a loss following slower than expected sales at the New York 34th Street megastore and higher costs relating to the opening of global flagship store on Fifth Avenue.

As a result of the record first half, Fast Retailing lifted its operating profit forecast to 138 billion yen (about $1.70 billion) from 130.5 billion yen for its fiscal year ending in August. That forecast beat analysts’ average estimate for 132.9 billion yen.

Tadashi Yanai, Fast Retailing’s ceo, said sales at Uniqlo’s overseas operations will exceed those at domestic operations by fiscal 2015. As of February, Fast Retailing had 849 stores in Japanand 234 overseas. The company plans to add 200 to 300 new Uniqlo stores annually, mostly in Greater Asia.

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