Three in a row: Uniqlo owner forecasts another record profit

Japan’s Fast Retailing, the owner of clothing brand Uniqlo, on Thursday raised its forecast for what would be its third consecutive year of record high profits, buoyed by strong sales at home and some overseas markets.

The company lifted its full-year operating profit forecast to $2.94 billion for the year ending in August from $2.78 billion previously, citing strong performance since the second half.

“The solid results were fuelled by Uniqlo Japan as well as the Uniqlo International business segment 1, which saw strong performances in North America, Europe and Southeast Asia,” the company said in a statement.

Uniqlo is renowned for its quality, affordable basics, and Fast Retailing is benefiting from a slide in the yen to a 38-year low that has boosted the value of its sales abroad.

The company is plotting an aggressive growth trajectory in Greater China, North America and Europe, taking advantage of a post-pandemic shift among many consumers for value over luxury.

With more than 900 stores in mainland China, Fast Retailing is a bellwether for global retailers operating in the world’s second-biggest economy.

In the three months through May 31, operating profit rose 31 per cent to $895.099 from the year-earlier period, beating the consensus forecast of $752.824, based on a LSEG poll of six analysts.

Through the nine-month period, operations in Greater China saw a decline in revenue and a large drop in profit, due in part to strong performance the previous year and a general slowdown in consumer appetite, the company said.

Fast Retailing shares have risen about 26 per cent so far this year, about even with the advance in the benchmark Nikkei gauge.

  • Reporting by Rocky Swift; Editing by Kim Coghill and Miral Fahmy, of Reuters.

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