• Kyodo News

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Fast Retailing Co. said Thursday its group net profit for the period from September to February rose 24.1 percent from a year earlier to ¥35.55 billion on strong sales at its Uniqlo casual clothing stores despite the economic slump.

For the whole of fiscal 2009 ending Aug. 31, the company revised upward its sales outlook to ¥660 billion, from ¥627 billion projected in January, while leaving its net profit projection unchanged at ¥50 billion. Its operating profit projection was revised up from ¥99 billion to ¥101 billion.

The company’s rosier forecast is in sharp contrast with many other Japanese businesses, including Toyota Motor Corp. and Sony Corp., which have repeatedly cut earnings forecasts for fiscal 2008 and are expecting huge losses amid the global economic turmoil.

Fast Retailing has bucked the downturn by attracting thrifty consumers with low-priced quality garments.

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