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Uniqlo set to boost staff status

Kyodo

Fast Retailing Co. plans to turn about 16,000 of the 30,000 part-timers at its domestic Uniqlo casual clothing stores into regional regular employees, company sources said Wednesday.

The company has begun interviewing candidates for regular employment with the aim of implementing the plan over two to three years, the sources said.

The measure, aimed at giving part-timers stable employment, could save training costs for part-timers and would not necessarily increase overall costs by much, they said.

The company intends to increase regional regular employees by recruiting new graduates and mid-career workers as well as by promoting part-timers to regular status.

The move reflects the expansion of the Uniqlo chain amid the economic recovery and is expected to have some impact on the overall retail industry, where part-timers account for a larger share of workers than in other sectors.

Fast Retailing also plans to divide regular employees into two groups — domestic employees for domestic stores and global employees for overseas operations, the sources said. Global employees may account for 10 to 20 percent of the total.

Fast Retailing has taken advantage of lower prices for fashionable casual wear to expand the Uniqlo brand not only at home, but also abroad.