Tokyo—Fast Retailing, owner of Uniqlo and the largest apparel retailer in Asia, reported today its half year results, raising its annual forecast as its international sales increase and it benefited from a weakening yen.
The company, which saw its profit rise as the yen continues to slide downward (19% decrease against the U.S. dollar in the last 12 months, forecast that for its fiscal year ending in August it will post net income of 91.5 billion yen (about $918 billion). That is ahead of its previous forecast for 87 billion yen, and exceeds the 90 billion yen that analysts’ average estimates.
Fiscal 2013 sales for Uniqlo Japan are expected to increase by 8.5% while sales at Uniqlo International are expected to increase by 52.8%. And operating income is expected to rise by 81.8% For fiscal 2013 sales of Global Brands are expected to rise by 26.8%.
The company finished its first six months at the end of February with 828 Uniqlo Japan stores and 359 international stores. Sales have benefited from new store openings, including one in Tokyo’s Ginza shopping district, under a plan to replace the Uniqlo brand’s utilitarian image. The company has said it expects to have 1,000 stores in China, matching the number in Japan, by 2020.
In its first half, sales rose 17% and operating income rose 5.3%, ordinary income rose 15.2% and net income expanded by 13.8%. Uniqlo International and Global Brands reported gains in both sales and income in the first half, while Uniqlo Japan reported a rise in sales but a fall in profit over the six-month period due to narrowed gross margin of 46.7%.
At its Uniqlo International sales jumped 54% and operating income expanding by 39.8%. China and Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and other parts of Asia generated especially strong gains in both sales and income.