Uniqlo Parent Books 32% Rise in Profit, Plans $12.8 Billion in Sales

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Inside Uniqlo’s megastore on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan

Yamaguchi, Japan—Fast Retailing Co., the company behind the fast growing Uniqlo stores, said today that it is well on its way to hitting sales of 1 trillion yen (about $12.8 billion) by next year.

For the year to August 2013, Fast Retailing is forecasting a 14% growth in revenue to 1.056 trillion yen. And is predicting an 18% gain in net profit to 84.5 billion yen, with a rise in operating profit of about 14% to 143.5 billion yen.

That would put the Japanese retailer well on its way to achieving its goal of being the No. 1 apparel chain by 2020 with sales of $64 billion.

Although Fast Retailing has opened more than 300 new Uniqlo stores overseas, including the United States, the company is facing a decline in profitability in its own Japanese markets as well as nearby China and South Korea, too.

Net income for the fiscal year to August rose 32% to 71.7 billion, but was below the 78.7 billion yen average estimate of analysts.

Revenue shot up 13% to 928.67 billion yen from 820.35 billion yen, while operating profit climbed 8.7% to 126.45 billion yen.

Overseas sales at its Uniqlo outlets rose 63% to 153.1 billion yen during the year, while domestic sales rose 3% to 620 billion yen.

“What is driving the company’s profit is the overseas Uniqlo business,” said Mikihiko Yamato, deputy head of research for JI Asia in Tokyo. “Whether or not their overseas growth is continuing would be the biggest concern.”

While the company plans to open dozens of new stores in Japan, there are more than 300 planned in the rest of Asia and other overseas markets.

Uniqlo already has major flagships in several major cities, including New York, London and Paris, but has now shifted its focus to rapidly growing Asia, operating in Shanghai, Taipei and Seoul.