Uniqlo operator H1 profit soars on foreign sales, weak yen

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TOKYO: The operator of Japanese fast-fashion brand Uniqlo said on Thursday robust foreign sales and a weaker yen had given a more than 50-percent boost to its half-year net profit.

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For the six months to the end of February, Fast Retailing said net profit reached 104.7 billion yen ($871 million), a 56.2 percent rise from the 67.1 billion yen logged a year ago.

The firm’s operating profit climbed 40.2 percent to 150.1 billion yen on sales of 949.7 billion yen, which was up 24.2 percent from the same period a year ago.

“We exceeded our goals,” the group’s billionaire chairman and chief executive Tadashi Yanai told a briefing.|

The company said in a statement: “In all business segments, we saw higher sales and profits, with the international Uniqlo business showing significant sales and profit increases.”

A weakening yen also contributed to the firm’s bottom-line, it said, adding the overseas Uniqlo business managed a 48.9 percent increase in sales.

The firm, which runs 716 stores overseas, enjoyed rising popularity in China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and South Korea, while it also achieved sales and profit targets in Southeast Asia and Europe.

The domestic Uniqlo business, with more than 800 outlets, saw a 12.1-percent rise in sales from a year ago, thanks largely to the popularity of mainstay winter items, the company said.

Jeans and other merchandise that command relatively higher prices also contributed to the healthy sales, which led to a reduced number of goods placed for discounts, the company said.

By this autumn, Yanai said the firm will have more Uniqlo stores overseas than at home.

The firm has been expanding rapidly in the international market to compete with likes of Spain’s Inditex, operator of Zara, Sweden’s Hennes & Mauritz AB and US-based Gap.

With expectations for strong profits, the company’s shares rose 1.93 percent to 48,500, outpacing a 0.75 percent rise of the headline Nikkei-225 index.

The firm announced its earnings after the market closed.

AFP

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