TOKYO: Japan’s Fast Retailing Co Ltd, owner of clothing chain Uniqlo, notched up a record annual operating profit and forecast a 13.4% rise this financial year on the back of strong growth in Asia.
Asia’s biggest clothing retailer predicted operating profit to come in at 200 billion yen (US$1.8bil) for the year through August on a 10.1% rise in sales.
Profit for the year just ended grew 39% to 176.4 billion yen, as brisk business at Uniqlo’s overseas stores offset a lacklustre performance domestically. That was just below a 180 billion yen Thomson Reuters Starmine SmartEstimate, based on estimates of 16 analysts.
At the retailer’s Uniqlo division, operating profit garnered abroad grew 95.4%, while domestically it fell 6.4%. At its global brands unit, which does not include Uniqlo, profits grew 48%. But its low-priced GU stores saw profits fall as the brand struggled to replicate run-away hits such as 990 yen jeans and gaucho pants that drove its rapid expansion in earlier years.
The company is overhauling its logistics operations to reduce the need for discounting and boost e-commerce sales, which offers one way to squeeze more from Japan’s thrifty shoppers. — Reuters