Fast Retailing Co., operator of the Uniqlo casual clothing chain, said Thursday its net profit jumped 50 percent to 31.37 billion yen for the year ended Aug. 31, with a revamped women’s clothing line luring back customers.
Revenue rose 10 percent from a year before to 340 billion yen. This marked the first revenue and earnings growth in three years.
The chain had had a lackluster performance after the end of a phenomenal boom on the popularity of cheap fleece jackets.
“The results show we have recovered from the impact of the bust of the boom,” Chief Executive Dadashi Yanai told a news conference.
During the year, same-store sales rose 2.5 percent from a year earlier, the first full year growth in three years.
The chain attributed the strong showing to the popularity of its women’s clothing line. One popular item has been women’s pants.
Uniqlo has positioned female clothing as the key to its recovery, working to improve its designs and conducting promotional campaigns via female magazines.
Sales from the women’s line jumped 31 percent year-on-year, the company said.
During the year, the chain opened 81 new outlets and closed 36, bringing the total to 637 stores nationwide.
Improved profitability of the company’s overseas operations also helped bolster earnings.
Its business in Britain, where the company had three outlets during the period, turned its first profit since it entered the U.K. market in 2001.
Losses from the firm’s operations in China became smaller, and it is expected to go into the black during the current fiscal year, the company said.
The company plans to open outlets in South Korea and the United States.
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